Critics’ Picks

Brian Duggan, Ryou-Un Maru, 2016, metal, wood, lights,  audio, carpets, discarded and reclaimed fabrics, recycled materials, 29 1/2 x 14 x 11 1/2'.

Brian Duggan, Ryou-Un Maru, 2016, metal, wood, lights, audio, carpets, discarded and reclaimed fabrics, recycled materials, 29 1/2 x 14 x 11 1/2'.

Dublin

Brian Duggan

Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street Temple Bar
June 10–August 13, 2016

In the midst of the carnage of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan in 2011, the Ryou-Un Maru fishing boat was swept out to sea: one more casualty of a catastrophic event in which almost 18,500 people died or went missing. Here it becomes the focus of artist Brian Duggan, who’s made a habit of exploring risk, hazard, and failure.

Duggan has constructed a dramatic scale model of the Ryou-Un Maru (all works 2016) out of metal, wood, carpet, and reclaimed and recycled materials, among other media. The ship, languishing at an angle and faintly illuminated by a string of lights, feels like something one might encounter on a decrepit fairground. It overwhelms the darkened gallery.

A dark colour I had never seen before is a silent film with scrolling text excerpts from survivors’ stories: “Okuma is filled with emptiness. . . . Because of this, perhaps it may well be that the present is an even harder time for me. . . . It was like sound had disappeared from the world.” Nearby is another digital film, Three hundred and ninety one days, which maps with rudimentary graphics the Ryou-Un Maru’s strange journey. The ship itself was never lost for good: It floated upright through international waters for the titular duration, unmanned and unnoticed, before being discovered off the coast of Alaska (it was then deliberately sunk because it posed a threat to maritime traffic). Duggan’s installation is a mournful, poetic experience, full of disquiet and foreboding.