This is not my voice speaking, group show at Wandesford Quay Gallery, Cork, July 2015. Partisipating artists Jenny Brady, Dorje de Burgh, Jason Dunne, Roseanne Lynch, Pádraig Spillane, with Sarah Kelleher, writer and curator. This show was part of Cork Photo 2015.
Statement for this show:
Roseanne Lynch’s practice negotiates an exchange between realities; how we see something with our eyes and how something is represented through photography’s mechanics, chemistry and optics. Her interest lies in presenting photographic objects exploring their significance as structures of understanding.
This is not my voice speaking features five artists whose work engages with ideas around physicality, sensation and desire. The title is taken from Jan Verwoert’s essay, ‘Standing on the gates of Hell, My Services are Found Wanting’ which describes the ‘hell’ of the contemporary as a depthless fantasy of endless renewal and excess, and argues that the role of the artist is to create a liminal public space of contemplation and critique. Signaling less a thematic than an attitude or atmosphere of playfulness undercut by melancholy, the works selected function as an affective spur to reflection, appealing as much to spatial presence and the tactility of surface textures as it does to the cerebral.
Jenny Brady’s sumptuously shot film Bone wrong-foots the viewer, juxtaposing shots of patient Labradors in a photography studio with disconcertingly crass dialogue described only through subtitles. The misogynistic banter is deeply unsettling and concentrates our attention on the use of language as a tool of control, subjugation and power. Similarly, Pádraig Spillane’s spare yet strikingly affective installations produce a frisson of physical discomfort. Crush (Every Time we Touch) juxtaposes a high res photo of an open mouth and protruding tongue with a yard brush. The plastic bristles of the brush rest against the tongue’s glistening, vulnerable surface and the disjunctive pairing produces a visceral shudder.
Spillane’s spatial intervention; the two dimensional image made sculptural with the addition of the found object, is a tactic expanded on in different ways by Jason Dunne and Roseanne Lynch. Lynch elaborates on her investigation of the subtle transitions between two and three dimensionality, folding her austere but sensually appealing photograms into minimal sculptural forms. Dunne’s installations combine flimsy two dimensional images of nude bodies on acetate or cheap photocopy paper, with strange foamy or viscous protrusions. These naked bodies in contorted poses, often seen from behind, are less erotic than grotesque or disturbing and create a charged confrontation with physicality that is fraught with an awareness of precarity and insubstantiality. A counterpoint to these twisted, abject figures is provided by Dorje de Burgh, whose image of physical transport makes luminous the everyday; a girl on a trampoline is caught in mid air, suspended in a haze of light flare, as if the atmosphere has condensed enough to hold her in place.
This is not my voice speaking reflects the diversity of contemporary practice involving photography, disrupting, deconstructing and recreating expectations of the medium. It draws together work that is linked less by style, strategy or conceptual conceit than an engagement with the corporeal, with desire and with the viewer as an embodied presence – this is work that produces an effect on the central nervous system.
Independent arts writer and curator, and PhD candidate with the Department of Art History at UCC.