First encounters: Gavin Murphy and Anne-Maree Barry
Gavin Murphy is an artist and curator working as co-director of Pallas Projects & Studios, Dublin. He has exhibited work in Brussels, Berlin and Melbourne and is the author of On Seeing Only Totally New Things
In 2005 I had just come back from Australia, working in music and visual design, having graduated from doing fine art. I bumped into Anne-Maree in the middle of Urban Outfitters. Right in the middle – one of us going up that stairs and the other one coming down. A mutual friend of ours was DJing, who introduced us: “You do art. You do art too. You should talk.”
What I immediately noticed about Anne-Maree is that she is so determined. I could tell she was very serious about her work underneath the fun-loving side of her.
We were interested in the same things, almost by accident. We both started working on films about architecture and the built environment, completely independently, without having ever spoken about it. They both turned out to be quite different things, but both had this idea of cultural wellbeing at bottom. I tend away from the personal a bit, as opposed to Anne-Maree.
She’s always been around when I need help, personally or with work. I was shooting an artwork a couple of years ago that involved somebody smoking a cigarette. Anne-Maree had just given up. Still, she let me film her chain-smoking in Temple Bar for an hour, while I took the shot over and over again. She was sick as a dog. That’s commitment to a friendship.
We’re like each other’s safety blanket in terms of our work. The first time I made standalone film I thought I knew what I was doing. The week before, I rang Anne-Maree to ask her to come on the shoot. She mentioned something called a “shot list”, which I’d never heard of. I went on the internet and learned the terms the night before so I wouldn’t look like an idiot in front of the director of photography.
On the day of the shoot, we stopped for lunch. She just turned to me, in the way that she does, and said, “You’re fine. I’m going to leave.” After that I was confident to plough on.
Anne-Maree is always threatening to break Hollywood. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. I’m always encouraging her to travel with her work. Hopefully she’ll go away for a little bit, make some films somewhere else, and then come back here to us. Red carpets beckon, certainly. As well as the very serious art gallery retrospective, of course.
Anne-Maree Barry is an award-winning artist and filmmaker, whose work includes the documentary short film Missing Green
When I first met Gavin, I thought he was quite serious, very focused on his work. He had been doing similar work to what I had done, like visuals in nightclubs.