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Grace Weir

IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Royal Hospital, Military Road Kilmainham
November 7, 2015–March 6, 2016

Grace Weir, Dark Room (film still), 2015, color HD video, 7 minutes 30 seconds.

In Grace Weir’s Footnote: If only something else had happened, 2011, two sets of headphones are anchored to a stone. The audio track is an interview between the artist and cognitive scientist Ruth Byrne. “In constructing our alternatives to reality,” says Byrne, “we are constrained by our understanding of reality.” This problem presents the key to exploring the works representing sixteen years of Weir’s practice.

The hauntingly mesmerizing Dust defying gravity, 2004, is the four-minute video result of a camera tracking through the rooms at Dunsink Observatory, passing by antique telescopes and measuring equipment to linger on dust motes dancing, seemingly impossibly, in the air. Elsewhere, Bending space-time in the basement, 2003, shows the artist creating homemade experiments with astrophysicist Ian Elliot, raising the question of whether art, like all science, is about observation, questioning, testing, and interpretation.

Weir shows moments of beauty in works such as Forgetting (the Vanishing Point), 2000. Meanwhile, Coffee Cup Caustic, 2005, represents the binary oppositions of Boolean logic with pairs of stones. The artist recaptures the essence of childish wonder at the magic of the universe in Script (1) Summer Studio, 2009. In the concluding part of the installation, the film A Reflection on Light, 2015, draws on Weir’s reading of Mainie Jellett’s tiny watercolor Let There Be Light study, 1942, as Weir reflects on the relationship between Cubism and relativity. It is a fitting finale to a thought-provoking show that brilliantly balances scientific and philosophical rigor with aesthetic grace.

Gemma Tipton