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OH, LET ME SEE YOUR BEAUTY WHEN WITNESSES ARE GONE!

Mark Clare (Ireland), Gordon Dalton (United Kingdom), Julian Dashper (New Zealand), Karen Henderson (United Kingdom), Melvin Moti (The Netherlands), Vanessa O’Reilly (Ireland), Alan Phelan (Ireland)

Curated by Noel Kelly (Ireland)

February 22 – 16 March, 2007

You are kindly invited to attend the opening of the exhibition on Thursday, February 22 at 8 p.m.

You are kindly invited to attend  the lecture by Gordon Dalton entitled ‘The worst years of our lives’ which will take place on February 21st at 7 pm at British Council,
Tivolska 30.

"Language contains the same traps for everyone; the immense network of well-kept false paths."
-- Wittgenstein

The exhibition, ‘Oh, let me your beauty when the witnesses are gone!’, brings together the work of 7 international artists. Uniting both thematic and conceptual approaches to exhibition, the work of each artist explores notions of the inherent power of our feelings, cognisance, intuition, and thinking. In addition, the central ideas addressed by the included works act as catalyst for questioning our current notions of beauty, as perceived through sight, sound and thought.

The exhibition utilises a monochromatic palette.  The black and white starkness is offset by specific moments of colour.  Upon entry the initial work of Karen Henderson provides a core aspect to the negotiation of the exhibition.  A screen blocks direct entry to the body of the space.  Moveable panels on the screen provide for different viewpoints to be negotiated, allowing each visitor to have a different possibility and vista upon arrival.

To move forward into the exhibition the audience are forced left into the work of Alan Phelan.  Phelan’s Lip Synch with Mel and Joe shimmers beguilingly as if a watercolour in motion.  The figure of a seated person on the top deck of a Dublin bus listens on earphones.  The heavy accent and stilted language of this figure makes it obvious that he is not a native English speaker.  The disjointed sentences are repetitions of tabloid radio that have become an opportunity for the practice of English.  The lone figure repeats the inane questions of the interviewer concerning ‘bi-polar psychosis’ as he attempts to adapt to his own new reality and face into his own madness of migrant life.

Placed between Phelan and Moti, Mark Clare attempts to keep balance on a small raised platform.  The artist as his own subject is clothed in pink silk female pyjamas.  The appropriated voice of Jørgen Leth places the artist at the centre of a brief mockumentary.  We are presented with the artist as ‘Det Perfekte Menneske’, ‘The Perfect Human’.  Clare’s humorous investigation of his role as a dominant heterosexual male takes the guise of a serious anthropological treatise.  The modern Dane is replaced with an insecure artist who shares the same obsessions with self and self-image that we create in order to reach some kind of tentative perfection.

In the ‘The Black Room’ of Melvin Moti a single camera pans a black plastered room adorned with Pompeian painting.  The slow movement of the camera provides moments of darkness and light.  The style is familiar, as classical motifs appear that have been copied through the ages.  We hear an interview.  The interviewee is Desnos; his subject is Surrealist experiments into ‘lucid dreaming’.  Desnos contrives to expain and  to speak his dreams at will. His objective is a state of unfettered freedom from socialized consciousness.  Though, we slowly come to realise that his coherency has become rambling.  The idealised Desnos, disembodied from his journey from Left Bank salon to his final death in a recently liberated Theresienstadt, has descended into the depths of his own mind!

Gordon Dalton has been ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’.  The most romantic of the artists on exhibition, Dalton never fails to be disappointed that attempts at excellence are underpinned by mediocrity and melancholia.  The mundane, potentially found, objects are placed in an absurdist and falsified balance.  They challenge us to negotiate our thoughts on their beauty.  Their simplicity confounds our need for complex understanding.

A single icon of the modern age lies in a museum like case.  Future Call by Julian Dashper objectifies the irritation and funnelled vision of modern society.  New Zealand based Dashper telephones at random intervals.  He exists eleven hours ahead of our present time.  We are unable to answer his call.  We lose a moment when we can talk to the future.  Our encasement of the method of communications removes our ability to listen to our own future.

Vanessa O’Reilly is an observer of systems that surround us.  For the 20 days she has been amongst the people of Ljubljana.  As an ordinary citizen, she wandered the streets, frequented bars, ate local produce, and interacted with passers by.  And yet, the temporary nature of her stay retained her as an outsider.  Potentially unencumbered, the loner examined and now reacts; her sound work portraying reactions to this experience of changing sequences of possibilities within modernity and openly altering the traditional silence of the gallery space.

Noel Kelly hates being called a curator.  He is worried that nobody really knows what the term means anymore..  He lives with his partner in Dublin, Ireland and occupies his time with writing and preparing exhibitions both in Ireland and abroad. His dog's name is Toby!

 Part of the text from a lecture by Gordon Dalton entitled ‘The worst years of our lives’:

There are too many artists. They are selfish, arrogant and pompous. They are naively stupid, gullible and corruptible. They have a mind full of other peoples’ ideas. Their self-importance holds no bounds. They actually believe there is a line between what they are and the institution. They think they are outside of the establishment whilst plotting to become part of it. Never trust an artist. They will stab you in the back…

…There are too many curators. The old guard recognised this and protected themselves by transforming into a younger, hip gun slinging version. The strongest of the new breed promoted themselves to generals, formulating new ways of becoming the institution. They have the power and the glory. They believe they are more creative than artists but still the artists look up to them. The curators scratch each others backs and give glossy lip service to the artists. Never look a curator in the eye. They are a dark empty pit of bitterness and resentment...

Gordon Dalton is an artist/curator and writer.

Project supported by:



The programme of Škuc Gallery is supported by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.

 

For further information contact Alenka Gregorič, artistic director of the Škuc Gallery on +386 1 251 65 40, galerija.skuc@guest.arnes.si.