So, finally I get round to putting up this post – I just got swamped! In fact I am not quiet out of the woods yet – and I am totally exhausted trying to fit in art deadlines at the same time as the mundane business of general life and survival!
The opening night was only hopping, quite possibly one of the trendiest events in Dublin that week. It even got mentioned in the Irish Times! MART was packed, and visitors circulated throughout the building across three floors. The main exhibition for the opening was Curb-Your-Carrie-Bradshawism – an invited exhibition in which MART artists were given a brief, an empty cardboard box and left to it. This was a temporary four night exhibition with the emphasis on using cheap and found materials, with most works destined for the recycle bin afterwards. I had a box in this.
My ‘Are We There Yet?’ assemblage pieces were also exhibited for the first time on the night, but will stay in-situ afterwards.
ARE WE THERE YET?
Here are the final pieces -:
This was a new departure for me so I was somewhere between excited and nervous on the night, and dying to see how people would interact with it. Everyone was invited to leave an object of theirs in the Perspex case made for the purpose. To my delight, they stepped up to the mark with enthusiasm.
Here’s the blurb that went with it on the night: –
3. Fire station
4. Civil Defence
Camilla Fanning – Are We there Yet?
You are invited to participate by dropping an item you have into the Perspex box, something personal to you. Afterwards this construction will be sealed.
What will you leave behind?
We are travellers hurtling through time and space. As we go we leave evidence of our transient presence, traces of who we were then, what mattered to us then. Each present leaves its mark for later travellers to encounter. This is the evidence of life and existence, every incarnation leaving a time capsule of clues, the flotsam and jetsam of existence on the muddy shore of the river of time.
Our destination is our own future from our own past. All we can ever see clearly is where we are now, there is no map. We think that when that we reach the future everything will be clear, our questions answered and it will all be in order. We travel in hope. We want answers.
“At first we are eager to go faster and further. At age three we ache to play with the big children of 5, at 11 we are itching to be all of 15, by 18 we aspire to be 21 and really grown up, we think we will have arrived then. But by 28 we are still seeking, ready to find out, we expect that at 35 it will all be clear, it will all be sorted; they seem to know what they’re doing. By 40 we are beginning to wonder, to have an intimation that it may not be so clear after all, but surely by 50 – the median point – we will have the answers. We will be there. We will have arrived and know how it all works. It will all make sense then, won’t it? By 55 we know it was an illusion and we can only keep going, equal parts curiosity and resignation, and so we keep going.
Yet the question that has driven us all these years remains- still drives us and still rings in our heads, surely, soon up ahead, we will reach the point when we will have the answer, so we keep asking ourselves – ARE WE THERE YET? “
At each point of the journey the present is most certain and yet most ephemeral. We leave our traces.
Some pics of people on the night-:
The last piece of the series was left open for a few weeks to allow more materials to be deposited. My favourite addition so far is a fork! (Ta Aisling).
Curb Your Carrie Bradshawism
On the night there were a couple of dozen of these boxes scattered throughout the building with visitors wandering around to have a look, some were interactive as well. The imaginative use of simple materials was impressive.
My piece called ‘State of Dissipation’, as you can see basic construction.
This is the press release for it – explaining the ideas behind the exhibition –
Curb your Carrie Bradshawism
4 – 8 September. Exhibition Preview: 4 September, 6pm
Alison Cronin, Amy Walsh, Andrew Carson, Andrew Healy, Anne O’Byrne, Aoife Giles, Camilla Fanning, Claire Behan, Claire Nash, Cliona Harmey, Colleen Keough, Colm Weakliam, Debbie Jenkinson, Deirdre Marie O’Sullivan, 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, Olivia Doyle, Orla Gilheany, Rebecca McGetrick, Seamus Bradley, Stephanie Golden, Terence Erraught and Vanessa Daws.
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 2013
Well done Ciara & Matthew!!
Celebrating the inaugural exhibition and launch of MART http://www.mart.ie/