Tag: Belfast

‘Do Governments Lie?’

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
6 June – 27 July 2019

As part of this year’s Belfast Photo Festival, the Golden Thread Gallery simultaneously held three very different exhibitions, at three very different qualitative levels: Philippe Chancel’s excellent and subtle observation of life within North Korean ideological strictures; a dispassionate survey of political discourse on social media by Marc Lee; and a terrible, ostensibly anti-Trump installation by Erik Kessels & Thomas Mailaender, which is so devoid of the potential for critical engagement that the president would, I’m sure, greet it with gleeful delight.

Philippe Chancel’s ‘Kim Happiness’ consists of a selection … Read the rest

Karen Daye-Hutchinson ‘A Harlot’s Progress’

ArtisAnn Gallery, Belfast
2 May – 1 June 2019

‘A Harlot’s Progress’ refers to William Hogarth’s series of the same name – a moral tale of the short life of one Moll Hackabout, who travels from the countryside to London, falls into prostitution, and succumbs to syphilis and death. Artist Karen Daye-Hutchinson’s interpretation of the sequence goes beyond the scope of Hogarth, not only in comprising 12 etchings (as opposed to Hogarth’s six engravings), but also via a prologue in which we learn the motivations of the young woman to leave her ‘shit hole’ of a village and seek her … Read the rest

Universal Credit

ROB HILKEN OUTLINES THE CHALLENGES OF THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT SYSTEM FOR ARTISTS IN NORTHERN IRELAND. 

Artists in Northern Ireland are being challenged by a range of uncertainties. Brexit is casting a looming shadow, but with so many unknowns about the nature of any withdrawal agreement, it is very hard to put plans in place that will mitigate against potentially negative impacts. But even before Brexit comes into effect, there is another issue that is already having a significant impact on the livelihoods of artists in Northern Ireland – that of the United Kingdom’s new benefits scheme, called Universal Credit.

Universal … Read the rest

A Cherished Place

DECLAN LONG PRESENTS AN OVERVIEW OF THE KERLIN GALLERY’S 30-YEAR HISTORY.

“Places you can go for free, run by strange people with visions who want to help artists by showing and selling their work”: this was Jerry Saltz, the New York art world’s notorious, necessary gadfly, writing in praise of Chelsea galleries right after Hurricane Sandy had flooded basements, damaged exhibition spaces and indiscriminately destroyed countless works of art. Galleries come and go; we might love them or loathe them; but in that moment of devastation, Saltz felt a need to make a stirring case for their defence: fundamentally, … Read the rest

Space is the Place

CHRISTOPHER STEENSON DISCUSSES SOME OF THE MAIN CHALLENGES FOR ARTISTS IN SECURING STUDIO SPACES.

The words “artist” and “studio” seem to go hand-in-hand. If you are one, you need one. Workspaces can sometimes be as revered as the artists themselves. Just look at Francis Bacon – his studio was deemed so significant that conservators at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane painstakingly moved its entire contents from its original location in 7 Reece Mews in London. An extreme example, but, as outlined in other articles featured in this issue, studios are an important – if not essential – part of … Read the rest

Justine McDonnell ‘A composition of she’

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
19 July – 25 August 2018

Bare interior.
Protruding grey stage.
Stage set in darkness.
Curtains drawn.

     Centre left of stage, she stands, faintly lit, from close-up and below
     She is enveloped from head to foot in black.
     Behind She, the Other emerges out of darkness.
     Motionless off stage three Narrators stand, facing directly across from the stage.
     They face front, without deviation, throughout.
     An invisible microphone sits beneath each mouth.
     Their speech is prompted by a pronounced breath.
     Each voice toneless, except where an expression is indicated.
     Tempo varies throughout.

The curtain rises, the stage Read the rest

Sounding Out

CHRISTOPHER STEENSON REPORTS ON SONORITIES FESTIVAL – AN EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC AND SOUND ART FESTIVAL THAT TOOK PLACE IN BELFAST FROM 17 TO 22 APRIL.

If someone asked you where they might find a week-long, international festival dedicated to the latest developments in experimental music and sound art, you might recommend somewhere like Berlin. But since 1981, when Sonorities was founded at Queen’s University (QUB) as a “festival of twentieth century music”, Belfast has been just the place for an exploration of all things sonic. This year’s Sonorities Festival, which featured artists from over 40 countries, made a conscious effort to … Read the rest

Elizabeth Magill ‘Headland’

Ulster Museum, Belfast
11 May – 23 September 2018

‘Headland’ is a major exhibition of recent paintings by Elizabeth Magill, powerfully displayed across two large gallery spaces at Belfast’s Ulster Museum. Developed in partnership with Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (both of which have hosted the exhibition already), ‘Headland’ has finally come to Belfast and will by no means disappoint those who have long anticipated its arrival.

The exhibition, which presents 24 landscape paintings, draws attention to Magill as one of the region’s finest painters. The bare limbs of trees dominate the dimly-lit gallery … Read the rest

Building a Book

BEN WEIR OUTLINES HIS RECENT BOOK, PUBLISHED IN RESPONSE TO URBAN REDEVELOPMENT IN BELFAST CITY CENTRE.

“The Claw is the blind performer
It cannot speculate, judge
Nor wince

     Steadfast
     Choreographed
     Dull acts
     Mechanised
     Strength Hastening
     Iconoclastic
     Labour

Blunt-cleft
Buildings open
Exposing truths
The Claw can’t read

     Crimes in plain sight
     An austere vandal.”

International Ireland

Ulster Museum, Belfast, 10 February – 3 September 2017

There’s an implicit understanding of the museum’s finite resources and loaded remit when viewing a permanent collection show. The limited pool from which these exhibitions are curated often leads to a loose circle being drawn around the works, its content used to simultaneously demonstrate and educate. It becomes a balance of signposting and illustrating, where singular artworks are laden with significance, denoting the development of an artist’s full career or even those of their peers. When seen repeatedly in different configurations, pieces can easily be experienced as historical artefacts rather than Read the rest