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Visual Art round-up: From three misadventures in extremis, to denying the demands of heteronormative convention

Breda Lynch’s ‘Witch and Lezzie’
Franco B and Rua Red: ‘How to say it the way it is!’
Cheng Ran: ‘Course of the Miraculous’

Cheng Ran: Course of the Miraculous The Sunken Gallery, The MAC, 10 Exchange St West, Belfast. Until January 14 themaclive.com Chinese artist Cheng Ran’s film runs close to eight hours (shown daily 11am-7pm) and imaginatively reinterprets three real-life stories of misadventure in extreme circumstances. One is the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine on Everest in 1924. Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999. He had evidently fallen to his death, relatively close to his camp, but whether he and Irvine made it to the summit before they came to grief is unresolved, if unlikely (Irvine had a camera with him which might decide the issue if found). The second story concerns the radical, influential Dutch performance artist Bas Jan Adder, who disappeared in the course of an extreme performance work: crossing the Atlantic west to east in the smallest vessel ever. The boat turned up off the Irish coast in 1976, about nine months after he set out, but he was not on board. The third story is a grisly account of mutiny and murder on a Chinese fishing boat, Lu Rong Yu 2682. On a prolonged voyage, 11 crew members murdered their 22 companions and were eventually brought to trial. Aidan Dunne

How to say it the way it is! Rua Red, South Dublin Arts Centre, Tallaght, Dublin. October 7-December 2 rusred.ie Renowned, pioneering performance-artist Franko B curates a show of work from the a/political collection offering “an alternative narrative to the current political status quo – one of timeless defiance, resistance and disorder – from some of the most influential socially and politically engaged contemporary artists.” They include pieces by Franko B himself, John Heartfield, Leon Golub, Barbara Kruger, Gustav Metzger, Shirin Neshat, Andres Serrano and, not least Ai Weiwei. Based in London, a/political initiates and organises projects with socio-political artists internationally, operating outside the parameters of the conventional art market. The show inaugurates programming by Rua Red’s new director, Maolíosa Boyle, and marks “a new trajectory” for the arts centre. AD

Francisco Goya: The Disasters of War Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin. Until January 21 cbl.ie If you were ever inclined to doubt that war is a really terrible idea, a glance through Goya’s stunning series of etchings should set you to rights. Made over the course of a decade (1810-1820), they centre on the bitterly fought Peninsular War (1807-1814) and its aftermath. Many have the quality of firsthand reportage, and it is thought that Goya did indeed witness some of the horrors he records in images of graphic brilliance. He was a remarkably composed though increasingly horrified observer, and his growing dismay at man’s capacity for viciousness and cruelty comes vividly across. Collectively the work amounts to a searing, despairing vision of the collapse of civilised values in extremis. Disturbing but essential viewing. AD

Witch and Lezzie Drawings by Breda Lynch. Ashford Gallery, RHA, 15 Ely Place, Dublin. Until November 5 rhagallery.ie Breda Lynch’s show includes a limited edition publication, titled Satan was a Lesbian, each copy issued with one of four covers and an essay by Padraig Robinson. Lynch’s drawings of vintage book-jackets derive from a sub-genre of mid-20th century Pulp Fiction featuring lurid, sensationalist representations “of otherness and queer, lesbian identities”. Scandalous same-sex encounters became enmeshed with other forbidden subjects: “Satanism, witchcraft, BDSM,” and bizarre sci-fi. Prudish, heteronormative convention demanded that the dangerous role models highlighted in the fictions should not prevail, a demand that Lynch’s humorous reworking seeks to deny and subvert. AD