St. Patrick's Day is upon us, a holiday marked by an overwhelming presence of shamrocks, Guinness and emerald food coloring. While the festivities are meant to honor the man commonly recognized as the patron saint of Ireland, contemporary iterations of the celebration have morphed into less an homage of Irish heritage, and more a hat tip to drunken antics.
So, instead of honoring St. Patrick on this day of Irish awareness, we'd like to take the opportunity to pay reverence to the country's diverse world of contemporary art. Just next month, Ireland will play host to EVA International, a 12-week biennial that brings artists and curators from around the world to interact and engage with the people and city of Limerick. From Kolkata to Berlin to Dublin, the Biennial of Contemporary Art attracts both Irish and international figures who wish to soak in the dynamism of Ireland's first City of Culture.
Details of (L-R): Stefanos Tsivopoulos, "History Zero", 2013, Video Still, Courtesy the Artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani; Michael Patterson-Carver, "Priority", 2010, Ink, pencil and watercolour on paper, 38.1 x 50.8 cm, Courtesy Laurel Gitlen, New York and Timothy Taylor, London; and Amanda Beech, "Final Machine", 2013, Installation View, Courtesy the Artist
"[The biennial] aims to simulate the sense of living under agitation brought on by global unrest while capturing how we are slowly adapting to a different perception of the world," representatives from EVA International told The Huffington Post. The festivities will cover four different subjects: our relationships with historical ideologies, post-colonial narratives, other beings (including animals), and speculations about the not-so-distant future.
Behold, a preview of EVA International -- with comments from curator Bassam El Baroni and director Woodrow Kernohan -- below. Let us know how you are celebrating Ireland in the comments.
"Nilbar Güreş (b.1977, lives Istanbul and Vienna) works with her family and friends; people whose stories she knows well. Her work focuses on the gap between the image that a state popularizes of itself and the surge of global changes that render state apparatuses at odds with the realities of daily life. In her project 'Open Phone Booth' produced in a village in the East Anatolia region of Turkey, she investigates how questions around infrastructure can be translated into forms of visual narration that can hold critical potential."
(Nilbar Güreş, "Alişan is Calling", 2011, from the series "Open Phone Booth," C-type photograph, 50 x 70 cm, Courtesy the Artist, Rampa ,Istanbul and Martin Janda, Vienna)
"Michael Patterson-Carver (b. 1958) is a self-taught artist born in Chicago who practices a personal form of political activism through his colored drawings. His works of picketing and political protests paint a small history of dissent that is simultaneously humorous and disturbing. The lack of doubt in his political position is equally both refreshing and seemingly alien to the type of critical engagement many artists practice today, imbuing his works with an air of mystery."
(Michael Patterson-Carver, "What I Did For My Summer Vacation", 2010, Ink, pencil and watercolour on paper, 38.1 x 50.8 cm, Courtesy Laurel Gitlen, New York and Timothy Taylor, London )
"Jenny Brady (b. 1983, lives Dublin) primarily works with the moving image. She creates experimental, narrative video works which explore problems of language and the fragility of systems of thought. In recent works such as 'Wow and Flutter' she investigates a troubling anthropocentrism - that dominates most discourse - through a central protagonist, in this case a cockatoo."
(Jenny Brady, "Wow and Flutter" (2013), HD video with stereo sound, 13 min 3 sec, Courtesy the Artist)
"Uriel Orlow (b. 1973, lives London) explores the spatial and pictorial conditions of history and memory, focusing on blind spots and forms of haunting. One of his most recent projects 'Unmade Film' is an impossible film, fragmented into its constituent parts; an expansive collection of audio- visual works that point to the structure of a film but never fully become one. The work takes as its starting point the mental hospital Kfar Shau’l in Jerusalem. Established as a treatment facility for Holocaust victims in 1951, the hospital was constructed on the remains of Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village depopulated in a 1948 massacre by Zionist paramilitaries."
(Uriel Orlow, "Unmade Film: The Stills", 2013, Framed photograph 36 x 36 cm, Courtesy the Artist)
"Formerly practicing art and teaching in her native UK, artist and writer Amanda Beech (b. 1972, lives LA) is currently Dean of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts. Her work takes up the dynamic of image-force by entangling narratives of power from philosophical theory, literature, and real political events. Inspired by these discourses on power, her work proposes a new realist politics of the artwork and its possibilities."
(Amanda Beech, "Final Machine", 2013, Video Still, Courtesy the Artist)
"Patrick Jolley (b. Ireland 1964, d. India 2012) was a prolific artist whose work spanned film, photography and installation. He was interested in the ordinary and its proximity to the horrific, and in how little can be done to stop the one turning into the other. In one of the last films he was to ever make, Jolley confronted the viewer with a disturbing image of man’s close relative, the rhesus monkey."
(Patrick Jolley, "This Monkey", 2009, Film Still, Courtesy Patrick Jolley Estate)
"Per-Oskar Leu (b. 1980, lives Oslo) is concerned with questions surrounding art’s ability to respond in times of social upheaval. In his multidisciplinary practice, which includes sculpture, installation and video, Leu often makes use of archival material in order to restage historical events, and to reinterpret works of film and literature. His video work 'Crisis and Critique' is a humorous, yet dark and often ironic account of German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht’s compelling testimony before the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1947."
(Per-Oskar Leu, "Crisis and Critique", 2012, Single-channel video with five-channel audio, 28 min, Courtesy the Artist)
"Praneet Soi (born 1971, lives Kolkata and Amsterdam) is an artist whose practice includes painting, drawing, collage, text, slide-shows, and performance-lectures. His work explores the subject of labour as well as the fragmentations and distortions of the body and environment. Through his research into globalization and it's many narratives he explores abstraction and figuration in the making of art against abstraction as a quality we are subjected to through market forces."
(Praneet Soi, "Untitled", 2011, Acrylic on wall, 23 x 3.5 m, Indian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, Courtesy the Artist)
"Luis Jacob (b. 1970, lives Toronto) produces work which invites a collision of meaning, opening possibilities for engagement and the creation of knowledge. Laboriously collecting and snipping thousands of photographic images from a variety of published sources, Jacob then formulates what he calls 'Albums' with these images, creating extended narratives constellating around various themes such as architectural space and the built environment or alienation."
(Luis Jacob, “Album XII”, 2013–14, Image montage in plastic laminate panels, 148 panels, 44.5 x 29 cm each panel, Detail view of adjacent panels, Courtesy the Artist, Birch Contemporary, Toronto, and Galerie Max Mayer, Düsseldorf)
"Jacqueline Doyen (b. 1978, lives Berlin) focuses on the connection between the body and image-making. Her industrially manufactured objects uncannily recall medical appliances or sport apparatuses. They exist as sculptures as well as usable appliances for staged performances. In both their extreme uncomfortableness and beauty, as well as their resemblance to apparatuses we are familiar with, they extend the imagination, bringing it to the relationship we have with our bodies in a wider sociopolitical framework."
(Jacqueline Doyen, "Salto", 2008, Powder-coated steel construction, white leather padding, wood, 229 x 109 x 79 cm, Courtesy the Artist)
"Alon Levin (b. 1975, lives Den Hague and Berlin) constructs vast installations haunted with the failure of various utopian projects. In their demanding abstract materiality they manage to avoid the most recurrent and non-productive of feelings that dealing with the political narratives of the past manages to produce; nostalgia."
(Alon Levin, "Abstraction and Immortality", 2012; "Permanently Contemporary III",
2012; "Art for the Masses, Formation Upwards", 2009–2012, Mixed media, dimensions variable, Installation view at Made in Germany Zwei, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Photo: Raimund Zakoswki, Courtesy the Artist and AMBACH & RICE, Los Angeles)
EVA International will run from April 12 to July 6, 2014 in Limerick City, Ireland.