Louise Manifold works conceptually with film, photography, sculpture and text. Her multidisciplinary practice reflects upon the boundaries of neurosis and myth as a means to explore human disconnection from the lived world in favour of a private real. Fascinated by the power of stories and the creation of myth, Manifold's work explores narratives and scenarios that challenge ideas of the self and the body. The artist touches on ideas of cinematic estrangement and theatricality. This exhibition at The Dock presents new and recent work alongside several collages indicating Manifold's interest in museum artifacts, found ephemera and narratives that blur reality and fiction together.
In spring of 2020, Louise Manifold and the singer Elizabeth Hilliard travelled to Musée d'art et d'histoire de Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the museum which houses The Jaquet-Droz automata, three beautifully handmade mechanical animated dolls, and there, made a short film in response to these extraordinary creations. This project, developed with Hilliard, will be presented as a video installation The Escape Wheel, an opera work based on the performance, mechanism, design and action of the dolls.
The Jaquet-Droz automata are a trio of astonishing programmable computers. They are the Writer, the Musician and the Designer and were made between 1768 and 1774 by exceptional master watchmakers, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis and Jean-Frédéric Leschot. The Writer uses the technologies of miniaturization to build automaton inside the little doll. Within the boy-doll are almost six thousand astonishingly refined components, miniaturized to fit completely inside the body of the doll itself. At the Writer's core is a great stack of cams (rotating parts) which translate their rotation into the movement of the doll's hand to control every stroke of the quill pen and apply the exact pressure to the papers to achieve beautiful elegant and fluid writing.
Manifold graduated from Central St Martins College London and the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland. Louise has been the recipient of awards from The Arts Council of Ireland, CultureIreland, and local authorities. In 2009 she was one of the four artists shortlisted for Allied Irish Bank Art prize for young artists of promise. She has exhibited extensively throughout Ireland and internationally in exhibitions at Galway International Arts Festival, The Science Gallery Dublin, The MAC Belfast, ISCP, New York. Proximal Distances Chicago, Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm, Red House Arts Centre Syracuse New York, Candid Arts Centre, London.411 Galleries, China. She has been awarded residencies with Tyrone Guthrie, SIM Iceland ISCP New York. The Botin Foundation, Spain. The Royal Hibernian Academy Dublin, Ireland( 2014/15). Current/recent projects include AerialSparks for Galway's European Capital of Culture Program, Architecture and the Art of Exile, Palas Cinema Galway and Wild-Screen Connemara.
A special thank you to the Director and Staff at MahN, Musée d’art et d’histoire de Neuchâtel for their kind support with this project.