1984 & Beyond (2007)

1984 & Beyond (2007)

Calle della Pietà, Castello, 30122 Venice

    The Lives of Spaces (2008)

    The Lives of Spaces (2008)

    Accademia Bridge
    Venice

      Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Kennedy Browne (2009)

      Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Kennedy Browne (2009)

      Venice

        of de Blacam and Meagher (2010)

        of de Blacam and Meagher (2010)

        Venice

          Corban Walker (2011)

          Corban Walker (2011)

          Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà
          Calle della Pietà, Castello

            Shifting Ground (2012)

            Shifting Ground (2012)

            Venice

              Richard Mosse - The Enclave (2013)

              Richard Mosse - The Enclave (2013)

              San Marco 3415 (Calle dei Garzoni)
              30124 Venezia

                Infra Éireann (2014)

                Infra Éireann (2014)

                Venice

                  Sean Lynch - Adventure: Capital (2015)

                  Sean Lynch - Adventure: Capital (2015)

                  Venezia

                    Losing Myself (2016)

                    Losing Myself (2016)

                    Venice

                    Gerard Byrne, represented Ireland at  the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Byrne was well known for his ambitious video installations, photographic projects and his use of documentary materials re-enacts and recalls key moments of the latter part of the 20th century, tapping into attitudes and conventions of our recent past.

                    Byrne utilises video and photography to question the ways in which images are constructed, transmitted and mediated. His work examines the modes and conventions of image-making and analyses the mechanics of representation itself. Influenced by literature and theatre, Gerard Byrnes work consistently references a range of sources, from popular magazines of the recent past to iconic modernist playwrights like Brecht, Beckett, and Sartre.

                    The project '1984 and Beyond' (2005) featured a discussion between twelve science-fiction writers that originally took place in 1963. Filmed in the Netherlands in the Kröller-Müller Museum at the Sonsbeek Pavilion (Rietveldt, 1965) and in ‘s-Hertogenbosch at the Provinciehuis (Maaskant, 1959 -1971), 1984 gathers such characters as Arthur C. Clarke and Rod Serling, who occupy these quasi-Brutalist settings to ponder Life on Mars, artificial intelligence, and over-population. A conflation of scientific fact and extraordinary speculation, as Emily Pethick remarks, 1984 and Beyond was by no means a simple reconstruction of a document, but a collection of multiple narratives and parallel histories that lead tangentially outwards, forming connections between three time periods, 1963, 1984, and 2005.

                    This exhibition’s title, The Lives of Spaces, deliberately invited multiple interpretations, suggesting that, while spaces contained many lives, they can equally live many lives themselves. The story of a space can be traced through its emergent life in design, its life in construction, its life in use and reuse, its life in individual and collective memory and its life within a culture. For each of the nine spaces that were explored in this exhibition, life is at a different stage. Some are still in various stages of design and construction, some are only beginning to be inhabited, while others have already accumulated long histories of occupation and, in one case, are about to fall finally out of use.

                    This exhibition proceeded from the modest proposition that the designed spaces which architects produce play a crucial role in supporting, shaping and framing our lives. The spaces chosen for inclusion were not precious, pristine places, removed from the ordinary business of life – they were right in the thick of it, providing accommodation for living, for working, for creative production, for institutional support, for education, for leisure, for collective action.

                    The exhibition sought to communicate the specifics of spatial experience, focusing on how it feels to be in a space and on what effect that experience might have. In an attempt to get beyond the common abstract, distancing effect of traditional architectural displays of drawings and models, film was used as the primary medium. Film offered a vivid immediacy, a readily accessible language, and the capacity to incorporate time into the depiction of space. The exhibition consisted of a series of filmic representations displayed in specially-designed armatures. Most displayed film on single or multiple LCD screens; some broke film down into its constituent elements of sound, light and time.

                    Taken individually, each display had something of the condensed power of a short story. As with the best short stories, it was through the intense focus on the particular qualities of a particular space at a particular time, that much larger social and cultural themes were illuminated. Thus, taken cumulatively, what emerged was nothing less than a spatial portrait of Irish society. At the same time, the ideas and issues emerging from the exhibition had a more universal relevance and potency. The Lives of Spaces made evident architecture’s great central responsibility – the shaping of the spaces that in turn shape society – and its continued potency and vitality in fulfilling this role. In response to the current architectural culture, this exhibition offered what Anthony Vidler, in his introduction to the work, called the ‘recuperation without nostalgia of a modernity of experience.’ And in relation to the Biennale theme – Architecture Beyond Building – it asserted that architecture will always extend beyond building in its matchless capacity to embody, to embrace and to engender life.

                    In accompaniment to the Irish exhibition at the Venice Biennale, a book entitled The Lives of Spaces was published.

                    Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Kennedy Browne represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2009. 

                    Ireland's presentation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition in 2009 sought to foreground two artists (but three practices) that operated without commercial gallery representation. The engagement of / with people formed a central element of their practice, and art is at the core. The technically accomplished and visually engaging artworks they produced exists as the gravitational centre for explorations around identity, labour, craft, design, globalisation, economics, language, architecture, beauty, money, value and being human. As a consequence their work operated both within and beyond the traditional ideas an art world affords itself.
                     

                    of de Blacam and Meagher was Ireland's exhibition at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice in 2010. The exhibition addressed de Blacam and Meagher Architects' built and unbuilt portfolio of the previous 33 years and sought to communicate the cultural landscape of Ireland through this work.

                    The exhibition was commissioned by the Irish Architecture Foundation under the directorship of Nathalie Weadick. The exhibition concept took the form of a book unbound, containing volumes of drawing and photographic reproductions from the archives, contemporary photography and readings of the work with commentaries. The commentaries came from a cross-generational collective, who shared an encounter with the architecture of de Blacam and Meagher. Their commentaries offered a contemporary and critical view of the practice and its positioning in the wider context of Irish architecture.

                    of de Blacam and Meagher exhibition was presented in the oratory of Chiesa di San Gallo. The oratory’s perfect jewel-box-like dimensions established the appropriate context architecturally and historically for the exhibition's curatorial thesis to be played out. Similarly, the venue responded to La Biennale’s theme 'People Meet in Architecture', encouraging the public to not only interact with the paper archive exhibition but with the physical space it was placed within.

                    Nine thousand volumes were presented as paper stacks on oak joinery in the eighteenth century oratory of the Irish monk St.Gall near Piazza San Marco. The installation within the oratory acted as both archive and reading room. The public were invited to read the work and take it away as a folio. Over time the stacks were depleted by the actions of the public, until finally only the furnishings were left. The archive was, in essence consumed.

                    of de Blacam and Meagher was curated by Tom dePaor, Peter Maybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan. While avoiding rhetoric and representation, they created a three-dimensional evocation of a concept, which connected the public to the subject through invited interpretations and in turn revealed the critical significance of the practice. They arranged the works as they existed and as they were understood.

                    The exhibition had two speeds; one was the immediate visual impact created by imposing paper stacks, scaled to physically and theatrically occupy the space; the second a deep and enveloping engagement of an archive, encouraging the act of reading and observation, research and questioning.

                    Corban Walker represented Ireland at La Biennale di Venezia in 2011. Walker is known for his sculptures and installations relating to architectural scale and spatial perception and utilizing industrial materials like steel, aluminum, and glass. Standing only four feet tall, Walker explores minimalism from his unique point of view. The installations responded to rule-based, mathematical principles that derived from Walker’s own height and correlated to the experience of navigating a world that has been designed for others.The works installed at the Pietà interacted with the historic architecture of the Pavilion and were all, in some way,transparent. It intrigued Walker that the Pavilion was open at both ends, with each end offering a different destination, the canal or a garden. There was no front or back, and no beginning or end. In the past, Walker has used transparent materials like glass and Plexiglas to create sculptures; this time, the installation itself will be transparent, though the actual materials — metal and vinyl — are opaque.

                    Modular (2011) This work covered parts of the outside windows of the Pietà with blue vinyl according to a mathematical rule that took Walker’s height, 1290 millimeters, as the starting point for a mathematical formula that dictated the negative and positive space in the windows.

                    Transparent Wall (2011) This work used the interior windows of the Pietà to “blast out” the window panes and create a drawing over the panes made out of black vinyl squares arranged according to specific mathematical rules relating to the size and location of each square, projected in three dimensions and rendered in two dimensions. The result appeared chaotic or random, but was actually dictated by a disciplined principle.

                    Please Adjust (2011) This sculpture consisted of 160 interlocking stainless steel cubes, each made of beams with a width of four millimeters (as dictated by Walker’s height of four feet). The open frame cubes were interlocked to build a structure that could support itself. It could be altered or adjusted in each new installation, but the consequences of those adjustments could destroy the entire structure. “Please Adjust” represented a rare instance when Walker created work in direct response to an event — the global financial crisis. The work responded to a prevailing sense of helplessness, as well as the sensation that one person’s actions can have broad consequences that lead to adjustments of expectations in life and in art.

                    Explaining his practice at the launch of the exhibition, Walker stated “Over the past three years we have all experienced some catastrophic exposure to the actions of people whom we have no control over, and yet each of us is paying for their mistakes. The work is very much about architecture, and the practice of installation has very strong connections with architecture. Though the work is very minimal, the materials are very ‘hard’ — but at the same time the works appear quite delicate and the structures can feel fragile or precarious. Though the sculptures are minimalist, they are also quite theatrical. They require, they demand in fact, the participation of the viewer. This aspect is particularly significant in considering the relationship of the work or installation to the building, to the venue. In this way the work can be read without reference to me and in terms of its theatricality. The work exercises the viewers in considering their relationships with themselves and in how they participate and communicate with their own surroundings.”
                     

                    The Irish Pavilion in the Artiglierie in 2012 charted a position for Irish architecture in a global culture where the modes of production of architecture are radically altered. Ireland is one of the most globalised countries in the world, yet it has developed a national culture of architecture derived from local place as a material construct. The questions posed by this exhibition was how to evolve our understanding of architecture in the light of the globalised nature of economic processes and architectural production which is largely dependent on internationally networked flows of products, data, and knowledge.  How should a global architecture be grounded culturally and philosophically?  How does it position itself outside of shared national reference points?

                    heneghan peng architects were selected as participants because they worked across three continents on a range of competition-winning projects. Several of these were in sensitive and/or symbolic sites that include three UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre in Antrim, and the new Rhine Bridge near Lorelei.

                    The exhibition explored how the universal languages of projective geometry and number are shared by architects and related professionals. In the work of heneghan peng, the specific embodiment of these geometries is carefully calibrated by the choice of materials and the detailed design of their physical performance on site. The stone facade of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre takes precise measure of the properties of the volcanic basalt seams from which it is hewn.

                    The exhibition also identified water as an element which was shared across the different sites. Venice is a perfect place to take measure of this element which suggests links to another site – the Nile Valley which was enriched by the annual flooding of the River Nile. An ancient Egyptian rod for measuring the water level of the Nile inspired the design of the Nilometre – a responsive oscillating installation that invited visitors to balance their respective weights. This action embodied the ways of thinking that are evolving to operate in the globalised world, where the autonomous architectural object is dissolving into an expanded field of conceptual rules and systems. It constituted a shifting ground located in the unstable field of Venice. It was about measurement and calibration of the weight of the body in relation to other bodies; in relation to the site of the installation; and in relation to water. The exhibit was located in the Artiglierie section of the Arsenale and its level was calibrated against the mark of the acqua alta in the adjacent brickwork of the building which embodied a liminal moment in the fluctuating level of the lagoon.

                    The weights of bodies, the level of water, changing over time, are constant aspects of design across cultures and collectively, they constitute a common ground for architecture – a ground shared with other design professionals. The movement of the piece required complex engineering design and active collaboration between the architects, engineers and fabricators. It was a kind of prototype – a physical object produced from digital data that explores the mathematics at play – the motion invited the observer to become a participant, to give it a test drive. It showed how a simple principle can generate complex effects that are difficult to predict and invited visitors to experiment and play with them.

                     Richard Mosse represented Ireland in 2013 with The Enclave, a multi-media installation at the 55th International Art Exhibition. The Commissioner and Curator was Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland. 

                    Mosse’s practice resides at the interface between documentary journalism and contemporary art. For centuries, the Congo has compelled and defied the Western imagination. Richard Mosse brought to this subject the use of a discontinued military surveillance technology, a type of color infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome. Originally developed for camouflage detection, this aerial reconnaissance film registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, rendering the green landscape in vivid hues of lavender, crimson, and hot pink.

                    Infrared film found civilian uses among cartographers, agronomists, minerologists, and archaeologists, to reveal subtle changes in the landscape. In the late 1960s, the medium was appropriated in artwork for rock musicians like the Grateful Dead or Jimi Hendrix, trickling into the popular imagination as the palette of psychedelic experience, eventually accumulating the aesthetic of kitsch.

                    With the collaboration of cinematographer Trevor Tweeten and composer Ben Frost, Mosse created a highly immersive five-screen multimedia installation titled The Enclave.

                    The Enclave was a mythic conflation of many discrete rebel enclaves in Eastern Congo. During a period of two years Mosse, Tweeten, and Frost inserted themselves as journalists within armed groups, which fight nomadically in a war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence. Film, photography, and sound recorded during these trips was used in the production of the Venice project.

                    “I am beginning to perceive this vicious loop,” Mosse wrote from Goma, “of subject and object. The camera provokes an involuntary unraveling, a mutual hijack of authorship and autonomy.”Neither scripted nor directed, Congolese rebels return the gaze of Mosse’s camera in a distinctly confrontational and accusatory manner. The camera seems to mesmerize and provoke everyone who encounterd it in The Enclave. This precarious face-off revealed an ambiguous defiance, vulnerability, and indictment.

                    About the artist

                    Richard Mosse’s (b. Ireland 1980) work has been exhibited at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Bass Museum, Miami; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Kunsthaus Munich; Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Open Eye Liverpool; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Mosse is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts and a Visual Arts Bursary from the Irish Arts Council. He was recently a resident at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. Mosse holds an MFA in photography from Yale University and a postgraduate diploma in fine art from Goldsmiths College, London. He also holds a first-class BA in English literature from King’s College London and an MA in cultural studies from the London Consortium (ICA, AA, Tate, Birkbeck). Aperture Foundation and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting co-published his first monograph, Infra. Mosse is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. A publication entitled The Enclave, with an essay by Jason Stearns, was subsequently published by Aperture Foundation to coincide with this exhibition.

                    For 2014 Biennale, architects were challenged by Biennale Director Rem Koolhaas with the concept ‘Absorbing Modernity’. This concept invited countries to look at the interaction between global modernisation on the one hand and local architectural cultures on the other.

                    Ireland’s entry for the 2014 exhibition was commissioned and curated by Gary A. Boyd and John McLaughlin.  Ireland’s presentation 'Infra Éireann’ chronicled the iconic and landmark structures which formed the backdrop to an emerging and developing Irish nation over the last 100 years. Presenting familiar infrastructure in Ireland, on a decade by decade basis, it simultaneously captures the story of the Irish nation-building.

                    Commencing in 1916, with the opening image of the GPO, which was later to become the scene of the struggle for independence in 1916, and moving through the decades, the construction of new infrastructures was seen as part of the building of the new nation.The first such build by the Government between 1926 – 1929  was the Shannon hydro electrical scheme at Ardnacrusha. For this, the new Government imported Siemens Schuckert to build what was at the time one of the biggest hydro-electrical power stations in the world. Decade by decade, over the last century significant new infrastructures were constructed and architecturally important buildings designed to house them. 

                    Ireland’s exhibition here at this Biennale will take you on that architectural and societal journey.  From powering the State, to the construction of a hospital in Galway to deal with the eradication of the killer tuberculosis (TB),  to the provision of a new secular school in the midlands and more recently the construction of the network of roads in and around Dublin and throughout our country to finally, the development of a new micro-processing board and the expansion of data centres to house the internet.  This exhibition, curated by Gary and John, captured the uniqueness of the development of our small island nation on the most western part of Europe, and charted thesignificant progress and immense advances which we as a Nation embraced over this time.


                     

                    9 May – 22 November 2015

                    Artist Sean Lynch represented Ireland at the 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia – with a new body of works entitled Adventure: Capital that traced a journey from myth to minimalism around Ireland and Britain. Combining sculptural, video and archival elements, Adventure: Capital was Lynch’s most ambitious project to date, bringing together Greek river gods, public art at regional airports, abandoned quarries, a field in Cork and a traffic roundabout, on a storytelling journey that explores notions of value and the flow of capital through an anthropological lens.

                    Ireland at Venice 2015 was located in the Arsenale section of the Biennale and opened to the public from 9 May – 22 November 2015. The Commissioner for Ireland’s Pavilion was Mike Fitzpatrick, Director of Limerick City of Culture 2014, Ireland and Head of School, Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT, Ireland. The Curator was Woodrow Kernohan, Director of EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial, Limerick City. 

                    Sean Lynch’s research-based practice positions him somewhere between artist and storyteller. Similar to a historian or ethnographer, he reveals unwritten stories and forgotten histories, extracting alternative readings of place, events and artefacts through his works. Lynch’s projections, photographs and sculptural installations refer to a contemporary form of the Irish Bardic tradition; lost narratives of social and cultural heritage are revived and given new form through his artistic practice.

                    Peculiar subjects and events have been resurrected through Lynch’s artistic investigations, including Joseph Beuys’ visit to Ireland in 1974, Celtic Revival architecture and the mythical island of HyBrazil. Recent acclaimed projects have seen Lynch uncovering illicit carvings made by Irish stone-carvers, the O’Shea brothers, in Oxford; exploring socially conservative reactions to modern art in Ireland; working with the fast-food outlet on the site of the first museum in the uk, and locating repurposed remnants of the infamous DeLorean car factory at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

                    Adventure: Capital has been made possible through additional support from partners including The Model, Sligo; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; Limerick City Gallery of Art; Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; Ronchini Gallery, London; Limerick City and County Council Arts Office; Limerick National City of Culture; and Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT. Adventure: Capital will subsequently be presented as a touring exhibition throughout Ireland in 2016–17.

                    In advance of the launch of the Ireland's exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the accompanying website www.losingmyself.ie, which documents the research and design of the exhibition, is now online. The exhibition in Venice will imagine the Alzheimer’s Respite Centre in Dublin, as experienced by its occupants: people with dementia and their carers.

                    This website records the experiences of a broad range of people  – neuroscientists, psychologists, health workers, philosophers and anthropologists – as well as people with dementia and their families. The design of the website incorporates creative advice from people with dementia and will inform both visitors to the exhibtion and act as a tool for those who wish to research the subject further.

                    Losing Myself is produced collaboratively by Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou