It is July 2016. Over the last year Ireland has experienced a number of political milestones, including a landmark referendum, a hung Dáil and a strident growth in social campaigning and protest. While our economy grows, there are ongoing crises in health and housing. Squatters and families are evicted as the housing market recovers. Commentators say we are politically complacent.
Keeping this context at the forefront of their minds, five artists were invited to consider female solidarity, work, economy, protest and how to negotiate life in Dublin as an artist and a woman in 2016. The art works that result come from a context of crisis, injustice, disappointment, and yet they show humour, warmth, solidarity, generosity. They are diverse but share common interests. These artists are concerned with the things that structure our lives, housing and home, partnerships, conventions, politics, and our sense of ourselves. The exhibition features a number of performances and meetings, inviting audiences to return and gather at these events.
My Brilliant Friend was conceived as a kind of psychogeography, charting particular experiences of a place at a given moment. The title is taken from the first in a series of four novels by Elena Ferrante. In this series, two friends grow up together in post war Naples. Every aspect of their lives is detailed; where they live, their relationships, their education and above all how they relate to each other and how they make art under difficult circumstances. While the artists in this exhibition were not asked to directly respond to Ferrante’s novel, it served as a form of roadmap for thinking about female solidarity, friendship and creativity.
Thinking about women’s role in public life in the run up to 2016’s general election, Michelle Browne researched why women go into politics, what are their motivations and who are their role models. Her work, Mná na hÉireann, looks at women’s engagement with public political life in Ireland. Made during the time of the introduction of gender quotas for selection of political candidates in Ireland, Browne interviewed a variety of women who are or have been candidates or public representatives in Ireland to gain insight into their motivations for getting involved in politics. Browne looks at the continued existence of article 41.2 in the constitution designating the special place of women in the home, considering the home as a site of political activity by highlighting campaigning or activism undertaken from the home by women. Mná na hÉireann is a non-partisan look at women's engagement in politics, to celebrate the many women who have contributed to the political life of this nation.
Avril Corroon’s video work Fresh Paint on the Walls, is a satirical take on the private rental market, gentrification, and the increasing difficulty of living in the neoliberal city. The voice-over narration theorises on the motives behind the capitalist and patriarchal landlord’s widespread use of magnolia coloured paint in rental accommodation. By revising the current rental market through the landlord’s absurd habits, Fresh Paint on the Walls estranges the reality of the situation where housing is seen as a commodity over social need.
Ella De Búrca’s work Saying is Believing is a double screen video installation examining the questions every female artist must pose to herself regarding the relationship between her gender, her past and her practice. In this piece the artist struggles with the future into which her work will travel, here represented by a 16 year old actor, experimenting with ratios of sound and silence to make her own reality felt, rather than merely understood.
“A level of deafness is the prerequisite of definition; though the past can be carried to us through text, it is not cognition so much as empathy that is required by the interpreter to ground this second hand experience in reality (I always used to roll my eyes when my Dad started speaking of the old country).”
Ella De Búrca will re-perform, with aerialist Elaine McCague, her work ‘The Pull’ in the Atrium at 8pm on the opening night of the exhibition.
Considering ritual, tradition and the sacred, performance artist and poet, Lisamarie Johnson has made a new performance work for the exhibition. The piece, entitled Soulcall, looks at spectacle and ceremony, and the changes in women’s roles and lives. Taking matrimony as a starting point and using dance moves based on the heart chakra and traditional song, the work merges the everyday rituals of social consumption and places the gallery on the peripheries of a marriage contract. Soulcall will take place at Fatima on the Luas Red Line at 5pm and in the gallery at 7pm on the opening night of the exhibition.
Laugh a Defiance is project by Vaari Claffey and Mason Leaver Yap which emerged from the program of NO MORE FUN AND GAMES, Feminist Parasite Institution by Jesse Jones. It is a performative and amorphous collaborative project that seeks to explore the power of laughter as a feminist action. Laughter is both euphoric and absurd and has the possibility to mobilize embodied subjective experience, to activate agency through collective howls, to disrupt with the everyday with the ecstatic.
Laugh a Defiance Episode 2 will be staged in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios on 2nd September 2016, and will star Mason Leaver Yap and Vaari Claffey on vocals, Miriam O’Connor and Jesse Jones on scenography and Sarah Grimes on Drums.
Ella de Búrca
Ella de Búrca’s installations are conceived for specific occasions, disappearing after they are exhibited. She plays with performance and the object to comb through hegemonic masculinity in Irish literature and culture. Her work is sparked from the feminist perspective, expressing prose and poetry not through the patriarchally dominated medium of the written word, but through a new visual language. Recent selected exhibitions include IMMA Rising, June 2015, 'Otherwise,' WYSPA Gdansk, July 2014, and 'The Emergency Pavilion' at The 53rd Venice Biennale, 2013. Awards include 16X16 Next Generation Award, Irish Arts Council 2015, The Evelyn Wood Scholarship for The Banff Centre, 2011, Fingal County Council Bursary 2015 and Culture Ireland 2013. Residencies include The Banff Centre, 2011, AIR Antwerpen 2012. She is a candidate laureate of The HISK, Belgium, 2016 to 2017.
Michelle Browne is an artist and curator based in Dublin. Her work encompasses a diverse range of media, including live performance, public intervention, video, sculpture and collaboration. Browne has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally recently taking part in Future Histories at Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin; Kathleen Lynn: Insider on the Outsider, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Co. Mayo; Border Crossings, SASA Gallery, Adelaide, Australia. Browne has curated a number of exhibitions including Tulca Season of Visual Art Galway 2010, and These Immovable Walls: Performing Power at Dublin Castle 2014. Browne is currently lecturer in sculpture and expanded practice at NCAD.
Avril Corroon works with video and performative interventions. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art Media from NCAD in 2014 and has been awarded the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios’ Graduate Award for 2016. Recent endeavors include Fool’s Bells Fall a group residency and exhibition in Hotel Maria Kapel (NE), Knowledge and other myths at Platform Arts Belfast (2016), Aligned at NCAD Gallery (2015) and a solo presentation, JUST DO IT at Ormond Studios (2014). Her work has been screened at the University of Santa Barbara, California and PLASTIK Festival of Artists’ Moving Image at the Irish Film Institute (2015) where it was shortlisted for the inaugural emerging moving image artist award (2015). Corroon has been awarded residencies at Hotel Maria Kapel (NE), the 2015 Fire Station Artist Studios Digital Media Award with Renèe Helèna Browne, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and Ormond Studios
Lisa Marie Johnson
where nails found their way out of wood and all the forests of the world could not keep you from me
undercover love the serpent sighed
Athena Fawina star
there is breath
when you wore the knight of cups and spilled all, she refilled it with the sun the moon and the world he accepted, rested and stung
and then all our souls were ready for love
Jesse Jones is a Dublin based Irish artist. Her practice crosses the media of film, performance and installation. Often working through collaborative structures, she explores how historical instances of communal culture may hold resonance in our current social and political experiences. Her recent project and exhibition NO MORE FUN AND GAMES at Dublin City Municipal Gallery, the Hugh Lane, established a “parasite” institutional structure within the museum space. This work explored how the politics of exclusion operates in relation to the role of women in the history and production of the artistic canon. She is interested in how political movements and ideas might be expanded to institutional performative gestures. Jones questions how we may look, not only through the lens of vast historical movements, but also through the incremental shifts in how we inhabit our everyday lives and experiences. Previous exhibitions include, the Istanbul Biennale 2009 as well as Solo exhibitions at Artsonje Centre Seoul and RedCat Los Angeles. Jones will represent Ireland’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017
Mason Leaver-Yap works with artists to produce texts, exhibitions, and events. Their recent projects include work with Lizzie Borden, Uri Aran, Leslie Thornton, Lucy McKenzie and Atelier EB, Hanne Darboven, Andrea Büttner, Shahryar Nashat, Ellen Cantor, Moyra Davey, Jesse Jones and Vaari Claffey, Sharon Hayes, Dexter Sinister, Park McArthur, Charlotte Prodger, James Richards, and Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz.
Miriam O’Connor is a Cork based Irish artist. In her practice she draws inspiration from the language, sights and sounds of the everyday. She is especially interested in the role photography plays within this context and how photography itself acts out everyday life. She is concerned with the subtleties of looking and seeing, the relationship between camera and viewer, and the special ambiguity of still images. Rather than providing answers, O’ Connor work often poses questions, while her images are playful and curious in approach. Recent exhibitions and publications include, Phototropism, The Library Project, Dublin, Folding Landscapes, G126, Galway, NO MORE FUN AND GAMES – Act 2, (Publication) The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, The Image Collection, (Publication) Galleri Image, Denmark and Greetings from Ireland, Dublin/Hamburg/Sweden. In conjunction with Galleri Image, Denmark, she is currently producing new work for FRESH EYES - International artists rethink Aarhus which will be exhibited during Aarhus Capital of Culture, 2017. She has published two photo books, Attention Seekers, (2012) and The Legacy Project, 2013.