MARK DURKAN / I'm astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins
SÉAMUS McCORMACK / Spike, an overlay
15th November 2013 – 25th January 2014
I'm astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins
In this reiteration of his exhibition at the Solstice Arts Centre earlier this year, Mark Durkan imagines an Arcadia blighted by a diminished population, yet rich
in the superficial trappings of wealth and privilege.
I'm astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins looks toward a future fantasy. Within this fantasy, the artist imagines a fate where human population has dramatically decreased, making material opulence abundant while renewing a ritualistic emphasis on the acquirement of vital resources. Using principles of interior design and elements of survival skills, a newly emergent symbolic order is explored. Role-playing within this world, he collects this future’s abandoned goods and reuses and revalues them as relics and raw materials for a new age.
I'm astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins is a partial quote taken from ancient graffiti found in the remains of the Roman town of Pompeii. For this exhibition, Mark Durkan engages in a process of world building. The gallery space is transformed into an arcane sanctum. It is a space of reflection, devotion and commitment to a future ideal, taking a view of inevitability and philosophical simplicity in an intricate, and at times, uncomfortable, dream.
A newly commissioned essay by Padraic E. Moore accompanies the exhibition.
Spike, an overlay
In this, his third solo exhibition, Séamus McCormack’s new installation, Spike, incorporates sound, drawing, performance and photography and is site-specific to the context of The LAB as a multi-faceted arts venue. The very particular architecture of The Cube Gallery, overlooked on one side by the mezzanine space, has been key in the conception of this new work. The artist has worked with actors at the LAB’s rehearsal studios over a number of weeks to develop the project.
Borrowing elements and motifs from the theatre/cinema space, McCormack creates works that explore social performance and identity construction. Using acting spaces, actors and acting theory all as a metaphor, his interests lie in transitions and transformations, masquerade and play.
Often relating to script footnotes, stage directions, and other aspects of performance usually hidden from an audience, his works bring to light the artifice in the mise-en-scène of performance in a nod to Brechtian notions of ‘showing that you are showing’.
The artist’s new project has a particular focus on stage geography: the actor, the director and subsequently the viewer’s interpretation and navigation of the playing space from a given text. The text, or ‘script’, devised by McCormack, reflects on his interests in meta-theatre/drama and on productions and writings that are aware of their own formation, development and production, a structure similar to that of a Pirandellian hall of mirrors with infinite reflections of itself.
During the course of the exhibition, elements of the installation will evolve, drawings and sounds will be overlaid, and actors will be invited to return and re-interpret the original script.
A newly commissioned essay by Seán Kissane accompanies the exhibition.
Mark Durkan is an artist based in Dublin. His practice involves installation with occasional performance and video that is often collaborative and context led. Durkan’s work negotiates the politico-cultural relationship inherent in the building of identities. Drawn to contradiction, he engages in a dichotomous interplay of mutually consentient but contradictory components that are intrinsic to the understanding of identity formation. Employing role playing processes and simulation methodologies, he engages with the architectural presence of a space and the people that embody it. Focusing on mechanisms of conflict in a paradigmatic process of world building, he transposes people and place with a joint idiom of value and threat.
Mark graduated with a first class honours degree in Fine Art, Sculpture from the National College of Art and Design in 2007 and attended the Fondazione Antonio Ratti in 2008. He was a curator for Transitopia 2008. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently in Solstice Arts Centre, The Museum of the Moving Image in New York, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and Visual Carlow. He has also exhibited in 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo, Fabricca del Vapore and Via Farini in Milan and in the German Chancellery in Berlin.
Born in Mullingar, Co.Westmeath, Séamus McCormack was educated at the Dublin Institute of Technology and graduated in 2006 with a first class honours degree in Fine Art, receiving the Best Fine Art Student Award. In addition he was awarded the Gold Medal for Academic Excellence from the Faculty of Applied Arts, DIT. In 2011 he completed an MFA in Sculpture at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. He has had previous solo exhibitions at Ballina Arts Centre (2010) and Signal Arts Centre (2006).
First Thursdays in Dublin
Inspired by First Thursdays carried out in London, First Thursdays Dublin is the name given to cultural spaces opening their doors after hours and offering an extra chance to see art, culture and events in a number of venues between 6 & 8pm on the first Thursday of every month from July onwards.