Forecast of the next century
March 25–July 3, 2016
Lewis Glucksman Gallery
University College Cork
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm
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Artists: Amanda Coogan, Maud Cotter, Gary Coyle, Eleanor Duffin, Damien Flood, Siobhán Hapaska, Ramon Kassam, Sam Keogh, Ruth Lyons, Eoin McHugh, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Mairead O'hEocha, Niamh O'Malley, Darn Thorn, Lee Welch, and the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy
Curated by Chris Clarke, Caitlín Doherty, and Fiona Kearney
2116 has been organised in collaboration with the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, USA and will take place there from November 5, 2016 to April 2, 2017.
2116 is a forecast of the next century. It explores our predictions and projections of an increasingly globalised and technology-driven world, and asks how Ireland will look from both within the country and from outside. From our contemporary vantage point, halfway between the origins of Irish independence in 1916 and an unknown, imagined future, how do visual artists see the next 100 years?
The exhibition features 16 Irish artists whose works present a vision of our changing society, the technological advances, progress and decline that will shape the coming century. Taking place one hundred years after the Easter Rising, 2116 is a platform for what is rising now and a way for Ireland in all its definitions to begin to imagine what lies ahead.
Artists have long occupied the roles of visionaries, seers, and initiators of the avant-garde. However, future visions are necessarily contingent and this uncertainty, even impossibility, of accurately foretelling the future is evoked in several works in the exhibition; Niamh O'Malley's vertical glass screen clouded with pencil markings, Eoin McHugh's densely patterned, anxiety-infused woollen tapestry, and Lee Welch's intervention of painted swathes across the windows of the gallery.
The connection between the distant past and the unforeseeable future is addressed in Ailbhe Ní Bhriain's films relating to an idealized traditional version of Ireland reconstructed through a virtual, computer generated world. Darn Thorn digitally alters images of Irish 1960s modernist architecture while, in Gary Coyle's installation of wallpaper and charcoal drawings, 19th century motifs and contemporary subject matter create a claustrophobic, dystopian atmosphere. While new technologies might appear useful in forecasting the future, they are also predictive of their own, eventual obsolescence. The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy explores impending threats to food security, while Ruth Lyons reflects on the folly of attempting to ascertain the future within the means of the present.
The residual traces of our history and their preservation for subsequent generations is explored in a number of artist's works. Sam Keogh appropriates the children's television character Oscar the Grouch to reflect upon the overwhelming accumulation of materials, while Amanda Coogan's photographs capture one of her performance-based artworks: the artist's head breaching a sheet of taut, blue fabric. In Eleanor Duffin's installation, the crystallisation of a milky liquid recalls the petrification of human bodies in Pompeii.
This synthesis of disparate influences, objects and elements recurs throughout. In Siobhán Hapaska's work, an olive tree is suspended by a gilded crane and flanked by tree trunks and engine blocks, reflecting our contemporary condition of displacement and loss. Damien Flood's paintings create fictitious narratives through abstract images, while Ramon Kassam portrays spaces that are invented or re- imagined in the mind of a semi-fictional artist. Mairead O'hEocha references historical and contemporary painting, film and photography, in her canvases of semi-rural and urban spaces. Maud Cotter's sculpture of high-tension cables, plastic and steel responds to the architectural language of gallery itself, drawing on ideas of philosophy, politics and economy to explore the very idea of the future.
2116 features the Irish premiere of Amanda Coogan's performance Don't Push the River at 5pm on June 24 and 10am to 5pm on June 25.
2116 at the Glucksman is supported by University College Cork, The Arts Council Ireland, and private philanthropy through Cork University Foundation.