Solitude. In no particular order
David Beattie and Kevin Kirwan.
Curated by Aoife Tunney.
Before he became an artist, Marcel Broodthaers was a book seller and a poet. In a symbolic act in 1962 he made his first sculpture by covering 50 copies of his book of poetry Pense Bete (Reminder) in plaster-of-Paris. He silenced his words and rendered them unreadable. While he abandoned literature as a poet, he had woven an intermeshing relationship between word, object and picture. This conceptual work hinged on the knowledge of what the object was as a sculpture and what the unreachable text was behind it. A book of ideas and images was contained and closed in a solitary gesture within a receptacle of plaster. Silent matter, withheld energy contained within.
The work of David Beattie and Kevin Kirwan attempts to coerce our ideas of objects, images, video, sound and sculptures by placing them in arrangements which allow them to do a single thing or work alongside another element to produce new meanings. Solitude. In no particular order presents ruptures in everyday life that often transcend their modest beginnings. Video works are familiar and relentless; objects move and connect elements with an invisible energy. The unassuming nature of the imagery and objects allow them to exist in solitude and as part of a whole. Quotidian items become rare signifiers, or receptacles of energy and details in nature and the world around us reveal themselves. In some of the works human presence is removed leaving the viewer as witness to the objects and places presented while other objects require human interaction to animate them.
By placing these objects together and making them work in a certain way there is a search for a materialism or metaphysical connectedness to everyday existence through these works. There hangs the prospect of discovering something new between our concept of what we know to be an object and how we see it in different contexts.
Solitude in the context of this show refers to the elements of each artwork as they begin in isolation. Settling together they reveal themselves in no particular order. The discovery of what the work might be about is not as important as the experience of seeing it. Jean Baudrillard proposed how space and objects correlate, “For space exists only when it is opened up, animated, invested with rhythm and expanded by correlation between objects and a transcendence of their functions in this new structure.” 1
The musician Nikolas Jaar talks about how we as humans experience space, in the repetitive lyric “Space is only noise that you can see”.2 If space is only noise we can see, is it possible that objects emit frequency and can hear each other?
An object or a thing is at once itself and at the same time in a constant state of change; becoming something else. Referring back to Pense- Bete, the book of poetry is itself and yet becoming something else by a single act, transferring its energy to a new object. With this metamorphosis, functionality is tested and a relationship is highlighted between form, function, space and time.
In 1594, Francis Bacon recommended that philosophers should keep “a goodly huge cabinet”. The cabinet could be a box of tricks or a room. In these cabinets one could find “whatsoever the hand of man by exquisite art or engine has made rare in stuff, form or motion; whatsoever singularity, chance, and shuffle of things hath produced; whatsoever Nature has wrought in things that want life and may be kept.” 3
The gallery becomes a site for observation and meditation on recognisable objects and images. By allowing for curiosity and a closer study of technology, the natural world and human evolution, we question usefulness, meaning and our existence within that.
At first glance the elements in this exhibition might seem immediately familiar and they are.
1.Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects, published by Verso, 1996.
2 Nikolas Jaar, Space is only noise that you can see, Space is only noise that you can see,2011 Circus Company
3 Francis Bacon Gesta Grayorum, (1594), The Origins of Museums; The Cabinets of Curiosities in Sixteenth and Seventeeth Century Europe, ed O.R Impey and A.G. Mac Gregor, eds (Oxford/ New York: Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, 1985).