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Johan Thurfjell, Linda Shevlin, Brigitta Varadi, Julia Adzuki, Karolina Żyniewicz: Local

Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3
05 November - 29 November

Johan Thurfjell - According to an Irish myth the Dobar Cú, or Dark Wet Hound, is the monster guarding the gates to our own private underworlds. The monster dwells inside us and the only way to pass him is to show no fear and become friends with him. In the two pieces I am presenting in the LOCAL exhibition I have used this myth as a framework for a narration where my home environment is the setting. 

Linda Shevlin - The constellation of myths in the Irish tradition is very pertinent to the collection of works presented by Linda Shevlin. Addressing mythological motifs and tropes in science fiction and scientific research, they focus specifically on the trope of invisibility. Constellation of the Invisible illustrates the proliferation and appeal of the unseen in popular culture, film and scientific research while also pointing to the military applications of this research. Have taken up our abode, visible and invisible, in this City takes its title from the manifesto of the Rosecrucians. A central aspect of this 17th Century cult which was associated with the development of experimental approaches to natural sciences was that it was hidden; members passed unseen in society. They were known as “The Invisibles” and were said to possess a genuine magic of invisibility. In the sculptural formation Prismatic, the movement of light through the work periodically simulates the cloaking effects achieved by researchers by refracting light through a structure comprised of optical prisms. 

Brigitta Varadi - This residency created a platform for dialogue on so many levels, and brought to the surface several questions that have been brewing, regarding how I (re)examine my own identity, especially since spending more and more time in New York. The work I have made references ‘The bed’ by Donald Judd, creating a dialogue between male and female approaches to creation and examining female cultural identity. Using hay for the bedding reflects a Hungarian traditional way of living which is long gone as opposed to the wool of the mountain sheep where the continuity of the sheep farmers’ tradition has persisted through generations in the North West of Ireland and still defines the rural countryside. Almost like a travelling monk, I journey between three different places in the world – Ireland, Hungary and the United States – observing significant differences which might have remained invisible to me had I remained in one location.The work and the process has become a vehicle for reconnecting my past, present and future, with the aim of finding a place of contentment embedded in three different cultures.

Julia Adzuki - 'Reciprocity is the very structure of our perception. We experience the sensuous world only by rendering ourselves vulnerable to that world. Sensory perception is an ongoing interweavement: the terrain enters into us only to the extent that we allow ourselves to be taken up within that terrain.‘From Becoming Animal by David Abram.These works are traces, artefacts of reciprocal exchange between landscape and body in Ireland and Sweden. Undercurrents of mythology are present, in which Kombucha 'mother' (bacterial culture of fermented tea) has come to represents aspects of the Sheela-Na-Gig. Sheela-na-gigs are carvings of female images depicted as naked and posing in a manner which accentuates that most powerfully evocative symbol, the vulva. Virtually the only surviving element of one of the most important aspects of the native Celtic tradition, its feminine orientation or belief in the ultimate deity as symbolised in the Cailleach or Hag, the Goddess or the image of female spiritual power. From an illustrated map of the Sheeela-na-Gigs of Britain and Ireland.

Karolina Żyniewicz - Nature is the main source of my inspiration, so the influence of Ireland has been very intensive for me. Perhaps it isn’t possible to make work about this region without considering nature; it determines all aspects of life, more or less directly. In all places that I visit, I try to find the most significant elements that I consider to be the core of being. Because of this I am particularly fascinated with funeral traditions. Death is a special moment of each human’s return to the earth, where culture and nature converge. Everywhere I travel, I visit a cemetery, searching for information about rites. In the context of the LOCIS residency peat play the principal role in my work. Peat is a natural treasure of Ireland, inscribed in tradition, with multiple uses, as a fuel, fertilizer, medicinal, cosmetic and amazing preservative. Its property as a preservative is for me the most important, as it concerns my interest in funeral rituals. The peat bog is a special and extraordinary place which can be understood as a natural cemetery. Human remains found in peat bogs that are centuries old can look as if they were placed there only a few years previously. Peat is beautiful in its simplicity, strong and primary. My project combines Polish and Irish funeral traditions with ideas of posthumanism, which treats all beings equal. Cultural rites transferred to nature’s world. Photographs on porcelain are typical for polish graves. I have made these with pictures of plants and placed them in simple tombs made of peat. For me this is special description of the natural order.