Primal Architecture, IMMA, Dublin, Ireland

Primal Architecture

IMMA, Dublin, Ireland

08 Nov 2014 – 01 Mar 2015

Review by

Samuel Tobin

This exhibition was held at IMMA until March 1st and deals with notions of sentimentality, identity and our state of awareness, of ourselves and our surroundings drawing on work that spans a variety of mediums from video to sculpture to drawing, performance and photography.

The grounds surrounding the Irish Museum of Modern Art are wide, spacious and exceptionally windy, quite literally taking my breath away as I made my way into the cobbled courtyard leading to the exhibition Primal Architecture.

As I entered the gallery the various rooms were aligned off the right wall along a long hallway, clustered in small interconnected groups of two or three allowing you to thread your way through them and lose yourself in the display.

Of all these works on display the room that seized my attention was room one, Kevin Atherton’s piece “In two Minds”. What struck me upon entering was the size of the projections and how they commanded the space. I was forced to sit between the two images, with my head whipping back and forth between them as they conversed across time, using the space to create a sense of the gulf that separates them.

The two videos, one on either end of the room were engaged in a dialogue about the artist’s own work, how it has evolved and how this change has impacted its meaning.

 

Kevin Atherton. In Two Minds – Past Version, 1978-2006 (stills); two-channel video installation with sound, 25 min.; Courtesy the artist; © 2009 Kevin Atherton.

Kevin Atherton. In Two Minds – Past Version, 1978-2006 (stills); two-channel video installation with sound, 25 min.; Courtesy the artist; © 2009 Kevin Atherton.

The faded black and white projection of the young artist, boisterous and challenging is juxtaposed by the crisp full colour of the same artist digitally recorded in his sixties calmly and coolly disarming the questions fired at him from his younger self.

It was interesting to see the change that had occurred in the intervening years. From a roughish young artist trying to push the boundaries of video in art and as he is now trying to convey a sense of how the piece has grown into something more than just video art, taking on parts of performance and the autobiographical aspect that it has developed over the years. It was something new to me, something I had never seen before. In that respect it made me reflect on the future and lead me to begin questioning myself.

Like the artist arguing with himself I began to examine what the future would hold for me. What did I want to achieve and how I could utilise the ever evolving technological landscape to meet those goals.

Kevin Atherton. In Two Minds – Past Version, 1978-2006 (stills); two-channel video installation with sound, 25 min.; Courtesy the artist; © 2009 Kevin Atherton.

Kevin Atherton. In Two Minds – Past Version, 1978-2006 (stills); two-channel video installation with sound, 25 min.; Courtesy the artist; © 2009 Kevin Atherton.

One of the things that struck me about the two men was not the difference in appearance or temperament but the similarities. The mannerisms and the ways of talking even the way they were sitting was similar if not the same. Whether or not this was conscious on the artist’s part it still left me with a feeling, one that two photos taken as many years apart, could not convey.

The openness of the piece is such that it can be added to over time with the idea being that as time goes by it doesn’t stagnate, it isn’t static but can be changed and repurposed, taking on new meaning. It is a struggle between the old and the new, the past and the present, the young man on an analog recording questioning his sixty year old digital self; it’s about mortality and reflection, about life and the passage of time.

Image Source:

http://www.artpractical.com/review/the_studio_sessions/

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