Critics’ Picks

Laura Buckley, Waterlilies, 2010, mirrored Perspex, twenty-five motors, four-channel video projection, audio, dimensions variable. Installation view.


Laura Buckley

mother's tankstation | Dublin
41-43 Watling Street Usher's Island
July 19–December 11

The act of remembering becomes uncomfortable when one thinks about how the mind actually works. As memories fragment and fade, others become embellished, more powerful. The only constant is the distorting nature of memory itself. The challenge of representing this mental space is reflected in the gap between the mechanisms––the synaptic processes of the brain––and the physical tools available to the artist. This is the territory explored in Laura Buckley’s installation Waterlilies, 2010. Film, mirrors, mirrored Perspex, motors, projected light, and sound coalesce to capture a sense of the fleetingness of memory.

A view of Northern Ireland’s iconic Giant’s Causeway is projected on to one wall; on another, a film of a backyard garden flickers, together with a glimpse of a child dragging a toy away from the camera’s framing gaze. Fragments of sound can be heard: tentative notes from a piano, a rain storm, traffic, the clink of a spoon in a teacup. Wires and plugboards on the floor link the scattered turntables that shower the space with moving colored light, echoing the synaptic pathways of neural activity. Their seemingly random placement is a study in successful juxtaposition, and following the allegory of Plato’s Cave, one sees the forms become visible only when their light meets the physicality of constraining walls. Buckley has created a space where memory is not held in an idealized frozen moment; instead, and more accurately, it plays out as unfixed, forever changing, and “familiar,” as the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella wrote, “if I can hold it.”