Brexit & the Arts

VAI is an all Ireland body, which means that Brexit will have a clear impact on us and on all arts organisations across the island who operate either across the border or ROI collaborations with UK organisations, festivals and events.

The unfortunate truth is that the fallout from the vote has already happened. The fall in Sterling has had a direct impact on organisations such as ours that receive funding from Northern Ireland. Around 19% of our funding comes from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and through our membership in Northern Ireland. With the collapse of the Sterling against the Euro this has now been reduced to around 13%. Continue reading “Brexit & the Arts”

You Are Seeing Things

RAYNE BOOTH INTERVIEWS BARBARA WAGNER AND BENJAMIN DE BURCA ABOUT THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE 2016 SAO PAOLO BIENNIAL.

The 32nd São Paulo Biennial took place in Parque Ibirapuera, a rare green space in the centre of the vast and expansive city of São Paulo. The collaborative practice of Irish artist Benjamin De Búrca and Brazilian artist Bárbara Wagner featured among the biennial’s 81 participating artists. The title of the biennial, ‘Incerteza Viva’ or ‘Live Uncertainty’, echoed recent remarks by Brazil’s new president Michel Temer, who stated recently that the years of uncertainty experienced under a Socialist Party government had come to an end. The biennial strongly emphasised ecological and social issues, while a huge educational programme of school visits, tours and special events attempted to bridge the distance between the concerns of the art world and those who inhabit the city’s boundless favelas and low income suburbs.

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The Saw Tooth Wave/Put to the Sword

Benedict Drew/Miguel Martin, CCA Derry-Londonderry, 15 October – 11 December

I recently took a ‘How Millennial Are You?’ personality quiz while I should have been searching for a job, if you can digest the irony. “You are asleep. Where’s your phone?” was one memorable question. There could only be one answer: “On the pillow next to me”.

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Paper Trails

Mary Patterson, Ballina Arts Centre, 10 November – 31 December 2016

Arriving at Ballina Arts Centre on a wild November morning and seeing the River Moy in flood, the logic of Mary Patterson’s exhibition seems very clear: to try to find responses to nature through art. The appropriately named ‘Paper Trails’ features a series of works on paper created through a formidable range of drawing and printmaking processes. Patterson’s use of diverse techniques forms part of her quest to identify a medium and a language that can convey the beauty and complexity of nature. The artworks that feature in the exhibition are displayed in the open-plan landing space that curves out towards the adjacent River Moy. This light, airy space provides an ideal setting for the works in close proximity to nature.

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Hennessy Portrait Prize 2016

National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 26 November 2016 – 26 March 2017

There are 14 portraits in this exhibition of shortlisted works. Surrounding the viewer on all sides, in each one a lone figure is presented (why no couples or groups?) and this singular focus contributes to the sense we’re in the company of deities. There are also a lot of big heads, their presence dominating the small room at the top of the Millennium Wing’s forbidding stairs. Of course the figure of the artist is also present, directly in the self-portraits, or otherwise implicated. Open to artists in all disciplines, the shortlist consists mostly of paintings, nine in total, along with two photographs, a graphite drawing, a digital drawing and a video projection onto a terracotta bust.

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Beyond Matter: Phantasmagoric Fluid

PÁDRAIC E. MOORE DISCUSSES ‘ECTOPLASM’, AN EVENT HE INITIATED AT 1646 PROJECT SPACE LOCATED IN THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS.

‘Ectoplasm’ was a one-off, nocturnal event hosted by 1646, a project space in the centre of The Hague. The event, which comprised performances, screenings, participatory actions, readings and physical objects, was the culmination of a curatorial residency I undertook at 1646 in 2015. In addition to a programme of exhibitions, 1646 hosts artists talks, screenings, lectures and events, providing a platform for experimental art practices as well as short-term residencies for foreign artists and curators. The residency provides participants with both a working studio and living space. I was delighted to spend time in The Hague, the administrative capital of the Netherlands. As well as the appeal of the city’s ever-expanding arts scene, the Gemeentemuseum also houses several key works by one of my favourite artists, Piet Mondrian. While one isn’t obliged to present a public project at 1646, I was eager to share some of my recent research with new audiences. ‘Ectoplasm’ brought to fruition the dialogues I had developed with practitioners from the Netherlands and further afield.

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1:1 Scale

JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS ALISTAIR HUSDON, DIRECTOR OF MIMA AND CO-DIRECTOR OF ARTE ÚTIL.

In 2014, Alistair Hudson was appointed director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), part of Teesside University. From 2004 to 2014, Alistair was deputy director of Grizedale Arts – a contemporary arts residency and commissioning agency in the central Lake District in rural Northern England. In keeping with the principles of Arte Útil, mima describes itself as a ‘useful’ museum, established through ‘usership’ rather than spectatorship.

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