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The best art shows to spend time with this week

Chain reactions and knitting the Border, what's on in the arts this week

Handmade dolls from Soften the Border by Rita Duffy

Soften The Border – Rita Duffy

Blacklion-Belcoo Bridge and Keegan’s Shop, Co Cavan / Co Fermanagh, Until August 13th ritaduffystudio.com

Rita Duffy’s Souvenir Shop, a highlight of the 2016 Centenary art projects, saw such gems as Black and Tan boot polish and Carson’s orange marmalade on sale. Duffy’s wry but piercing view of the traditions that hold us together, and the ones that keep us apart, gets another chance to shine with a project that quite literally “knits” the Border together.

Discover the bridge full of woolly things, plus a posse of handmade dolls to “make this little patch of Border soft, curious and comfortable for a few days”. The Souvenir Shop will also make an appearance at Keegan’s, the former post office, grocery and funeral parlour on the Blacklion side, where you’ll be able to buy Belcoo water reputed to cure stomach trouble and mental illness. Duffy plans a series of shops across the country, “getting out of the cities and embedding art in the rural community”. Watch this space.

Gemma Tipton

The Way Things Go: An Homage

Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny, until October 15th butlergallery.com

You have to credit the Butler Gallery for their grammar. Of course it’s “An Homage”. It’s also a fascinating show. Back in 1987, Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, who may (or may not) have spent their childhoods playing the board game Mouse Trap, created a brilliant film in which a chain reaction, involving old tyres, soap, shoes, water and pyrotechnics unfolds in a warehouse. There’s tension, drama plus great fun. Alongside the film are works from artists including Aideen Barry, Nevan Lahart, Hannah Fitz and Caroline McCarthy.

You have to be careful with homages: in 2003, Fischli and Weiss threatened action against Honda over their Cog commercial. The ad agency eventually admitted to pinching the tyres idea.

This exhibition is in association with the Kilkenny Arts Festival, where you can also see Mick O’Dea making portraits of the great and the good of the festival for the third year in a row. Find out who’s left to paint, until August 20th. GT

Clare Langan still from The Human Flock at St Carthage Hall, Lismore

The Human Flock – Clare Langan

St Carthage Hall, Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, Co Waterford, until October 1st lismorecastlearts.ie

Irish artist Clare Langan excels at making haunting, evocative, exceptionally beautiful films that leave you haunted about what it was you just saw.

Ambiguity can be a useful thing, and if you ditch meaning for feeling, you can find an experience to revel in. As her latest includes a group of people navigating an abyss of black water and fog, the references to migration might seem obvious, but as always with this artist, there’s more than quick glib references. And if you’re a fan of misty darkness, head over to Lismore Castle, where Anthony McCall’s installations will give you all you could wish for, and more (until October 15th). GT

Collected Shadows

Void, Patrick Street, Derry, until October 7th derryvoid.com

You’d think that images from The Archive of Modern Conflict, originally established to collect photographs and ephemera relating to the two World Wars, might be rather grim. A glimpse into its holdings shows birds in flight, Vesuvius erupting, national costumes, icebergs and African kings. In short, it’s a vista on to the glorious diversity, and the connections that create our world. These days the archive goes further back, and the exhibition at Void also spans the history of photography, from the 1850s to today. Find cyanotypes, early albumen prints and Polaroids; photographs of the 1970 atomic bomb tests in Tahiti, Victorian studies of the moon, and personal snapshots. All of human life in fact. GT

From the Archive of Modern Conflict at Void, Derry

The Meeting

Olivier Cornet Gallery, 3 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1, until September 3rd oliviercornetgallery.com

The art world is all about connections, so how do you go about opening those up beyond the chosen few? The annual Visual Artists Ireland Get Together has the answer, and its Speed Curating event is an energetic meet up where serendipities may begin. One such was when Dublin gallerist Olivier Cornet met Muireann Ní Chonaill, the Co Laois arts officer, and the idea of a joint exhibition was born.

At The Meeting, David Fox shows pleasing paintings of scenes usually considered unbeautiful (think of Eithne Jordan’s brilliantly done placeless-places). They share an affinity with Darina Meagher’s work, and together are a good counterpoint to Aileen Hamilton’s organic fantasies, while Vicky Smith gets down and dirty with the tedium of housework. GT