The Premiere Exhibition at The MART Gallery.
Alison Cronin, Amy Walsh, Andrew Carson, Andrew Healy, Anne O’Byrne, Aoife Giles, Camilla Fanning, Claire Nash, Cliona Harmey, Debbie Jenkinson, Eleanor Lawler, Emily Boylan, Gearoid O’Dea, Ida Mitrani, James L Hayes, Jessica Conway, Karen Tierney, Katherine Nolan, Michelle Hall, Moya Clarken, Niamh Hannaford, Olive Barrett, Orla Gilheany, Rebecca McGetrick, Seamus Bradley, Stephanie Golden, Terence Erraught.
Curated by Ciara Scanlan & Matthew Nevin.
THE MART, a new visual arts depot located in the iconic old fire station in Rathmines, Dublin, has been reappropriated to house multifarious elements, which include several galleries, an art shop, a workshop space and studios. MART seeks to position itself as a mediator of social and cultural transformation, through engagement with the arts. This dynamic venture will provide an accessible location and platform to develop and promote Irish and International contemporary visual art, one of the key principles fostered by MART.
This exhibition highlights the cycle of creativity beyond the confines of the gallery. Through a Fund-it campaign to raise resources for MART’s new premises, all contributors who invested in the initiative were invited to participate in the Curb your Carrie Bradshawism exhibition, in recognition of their support. This is a strong gesture and reflective of the inclusive nature of MART’s modus operandi. The realisation of this exhibition in this rejuvenated space sees the outcome of an exciting venture come full circle, culminating in the official launch of this new venue.
MART’s egalitarian ethos is echoed in the inaugural exhibition Curb your Carrie Bradshawism, as each participating artist will be given an identical challenge – to work within the constraints of a cardboard box, in any visual arts medium. As our culture is evolving into a society full of restrictions and limitations, artist’s struggle to find financial resources and opportunities to showcase their voice. The format of the exhibition and its established restrictions will generate an equal standing for each of the artist’s involved, without prejudice or favouritism.
The title of the exhibition Curb your Carrie Bradshawism, weighs heavily on contemporary material and cultural ideology. The all-pervading suffix, ‘ism’ has become commonplace and part of visual art pop culture. It enables the user to attain a certain gravity, or level of authenticity in their distinctive practice, philosophy or artistic movement in contemporary art. By initiating a response to the fad of ‘ism’, another layer is added to the prerequisite conditions imposed on the artist’s.
Impossible to ignore, Carrie Bradshaw becomes a focal point of the exhibitions title. Her character from Sex and the City, has become symbolic of consumerism, excess and materialism. Her happiness appears to be counted in material goods such as shoes, bags and couture clothes, in strict contrast to values and quality of life, and acts as an interesting foil to the realities of the artistic lifestyle. How would she survive the recession or economic hardship?
According to the philosopher Jacques Lacan, how somebody reads and interprets an artwork is determined in large by their subject position, as they inevitably project their own views on an object. To mirror this, another perspective worth considering is Carrie Bradshaw’s career as a journalist. Her character is established as possessor of ‘the gaze’, whose position involves objectifying situations to her individual perspective – highlighting the rupture between sight and gaze. A similar scrutiny will be undertaken by each of the artist’s involved in the exhibition, as they will be bringing their unique approach and individual interpretation to the fore as they create specific pieces. Despite the fact that the artist’s all have a common starting point, the final selection of artworks on display will differ significantly, both in composition and in their conceptual and philosophical deliberations – in stark contrast to the lite existential questions à la Carrie Bradshaw.
The use of cardboard boxes for each artwork is a confident, if unconventional method to provide unbiased, equal footing to every artist in the show. Yet, could it be argued that this scenario becomes symbolic of being somehow boxed-in? Or categorising the artist’s and their work – putting them into boxes, in a manner of speaking. The paradox of this construct is highlighted in the duality encapsulated by a seemingly neutral perspective, that when analysed may in fact be interpreted as including a somewhat judgemental element. These shifting concerns that are at play throughout the exhibition; the concept, the title, the symbolism and the display format, all combine to constantly challenge the perspectives of both artist and audience, as these fluctuating layers offer room for evolving interpretation.
Text by Rowan Sexton
Echo Chamber – EUCIDA 2017 Exhibition
Lūznava Manor Rēzeknes | Latvia: 9th June – 31st August 2017
RUA RED | Ireland: 16th June – 5th August 2017
Gantner Multimedia Space | France: 24th June – 22nd July 2017
European Connections in Digital Arts / EUCIDA is a 3 year project funded by Creative Europe led by RUA RED Ireland in partnership Gantner Multimedia Space, France and Lūznava Manor Rēzeknes, Latvia. The Project aspires to work collaboratively while demonstrating innovation and high standards contributing to making the Digital Arts sector highly visible internationally.
“an echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.”[link]
As a curatorial platform for creation of new work, Echo Chamber has encouraged the dialogue of art and technology as a means of sharing experience and creative practice. Exhibiting simultaneously across Ireland, Latvia and France it showcases six contemporary visual artists, two from each of the host countries, whose practice is rooted in various aspects of digital technology.
Its primary aim to create an accessible conversation and debate between the digital arts, technology, politics, culture and society in an accessible way to a European wide public. The three parallel exhibitions, which mirror each other, will analyse how culture, politics and socio-economical issues are bounced around, applauded, and never truly open within one’s own Echo Chamber; i.e colleagues, friends, families etc.
The exhibitions provide a platform for the artists to push conversation beyond the normal realms of an art audience or local groups, to a further international and trans European audience. By encouraging participating artists to explore and reinvent material, technologies and methodologies, Matthew Nevin, the curator, has worked alongside the artists to re/produce work that can provoke the limitations of the ‘Echo Chamber of the normal gallery environment, into producing powerful, informative and experimental new work to a wider audience.
These artists, often working as the mirror for society, will create new dialogues that challenge conventional views on politics and culture; pushing for examination of our preconceived expectations of what is contemporary art and its relevance to the society we live in. The curator has encouraged the artists to be reactionary and politically engaged in their approach to their practice and tease out new radical ways of viewing and perceiving their art works through technology.
Helen Mac Mahon, who creates artwork through experimentation and investigation into the phenomena of light, movement, perception and space, has produced ‘Mirror Affect’ an interactive piece playing with the mirrored image using a combination of everyday objects and live digital technology.
Jeanne Briand forges links with new technology and craftsmanship to create beautiful sculptural pieces that reference fantasy and trans-aesthetics. Briand’s ‘Gamete Glass’ propose a new form of life, and the origin of the sounds they emit serves to raise questions in the viewer’s mind about the artifice or real existence of the animated forms.
Fabien Leaustic creates sculptural work which while physical has an ephemeral aesthetic. Leaustic’s work ‘Hello World’ activated by the presence of the visitor disturbs our interpretation of our world, evoking an emotional response juggling a naive optimism and a dark poetic duality that defines us.
Rasa Smite is an artist, network researcher and cultural innovator, working with science and emerging media technologies. Smite’s artwork ‘Talk to Me’ is a human-plant communication interface, through which people were asked to send encouraging messages via text & social media to the growing plants, “equipped” with web-cam, wi-fi and loudspeakers.
Adam Gibney’s artwork is generally realised through sculpture, installation, sound and video. ‘Conundrum 8: I am somewhere between we and they’ questions the political and personal use of pronouns. Playing a key role in the construction of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’, pronouns help toward the creation and division of societies.
Paula Vitola works through media art & archeology, researching relationships between human and technology. Her work encompasses experimenting with technology and nature, programming and gadget-hacking.