Empty pockets, but rich pickings in art
Sadly, two great artists died this year: Louis le Brocquy, a towering figure in 20th century Irish art, and Paddy Jolley, one of the most ambitious and brilliant younger artists to have emerged in years.
5 best shows of 2012 Skating in Wyoming, snipers in Sarajevo and a new era for Eva
The Josef Albers show at the Glucksman in April was a landmark. Made possible through the commitment of The Josef Anni Albers Foundation in the US, and particularly director Nicholas Fox Weber, the exhibition was a richly textured, remarkably well-rounded survey of the life and work of one of the most celebrated abstract artists of the 20th century. The only flaw was the presentation of Albers as the Sacred Modernist and a Catholic artist. The work suggested these were peripheral concerns.
Limerick’s Eva embarked on a new era. The exhibition After the Future opened in June under the auspices of new director Woodrow Kernohan. Guest curator was Dutch-based Annie Fletcher. Together, they produced an impressive, international event. Fletcher had in mind art that articulated alternative ways of dealing with contemporary, often oppressive realities. Outstanding highlights included Pilvi Takala’s inventive take on corporate life (documenting her experience as a trainee in Deloitte ), Adrian O’Connell’s dramatic Library and Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s poetically surreal video installation.
Brian Duggan’s Everything can be done, in principle, the centrepiece of Éigse at VISUAL in Carlow, involved building a rollerskating rink in a facsimile of an 1890s Wyoming timber bar in the gallery, and providing skates for visitors. For everyone, including curator Helen Carey, it was a huge undertaking. The inspiration was Michael Cimino’s cult 1980 film, Heaven’s Gate, which went famously and ruinously over budget. Duggan’s work is fascinated with the idea of failure, and the notion of community, each and in combination very relevant to Ireland now.
Anri Sala’s 1395 Days Without Red, at Imma, Earlsfort Terrace, in June, is a collaboration between Sala, New York-born composer and conductor Ari Benjamin Meyers and French filmmaker Liria Bégéja. Set during the Siege of Sarajevo, from April 1992 to February 1996, it ingeniously charts the progress of a woman – actress Mirabel Verdú – on her way to work (with the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra, which never gave up through the siege), as Serbian snipers fired at will.
Imma’s Alice Maher survey, Alice Maher: Becoming, at Earlsfort Terrace, from October, is a triumph, striking a lively balance between older and new work. The title indicates Maher’s fascination not just with metamorphosis, but also with how, as individuals, we carve out personal identities in the midst of institutional conditioning. Don’t miss it.