Critics’ Picks

E.S.P. TV, Unit 11, 2015, customized ENG van, dimensions variable.

E.S.P. TV, Unit 11, 2015, customized ENG van, dimensions variable.


“The Future is Self-Organized”

Limerick City Gallery of Art
Carnegie Building, Pery Square
November 13, 2015–January 15, 2016

Exhibition fliers and newspaper clippings cover the walls of the Limerick City Gallery of Art, as if it has been turned into a fully papered box office—on a grand scale. Looking closer, one discovers that these ephemera span two decades of art projects from Catalyst Arts, Pallas Projects/Studios, 126, Occupy Space, and Black Mariah—all artist-run spaces, celebrated by Pallas to mark its upcoming twentieth anniversary. The sense of cacophonous energy engendered by these materials is heightened by a cluster of monitors on plinths, showing footage of further projects. Visitors find their attention pulled in all directions. An invitation for Salon 99 at Pallas promises “a last mark at the end of a millennium where space has become premium . . . a chorus of condensed images will replace the cool space of the modernist gallery.”

Next door, things are quieter. Megs Morley’s Artist-Led Archive, 2006–ongoing, is a series of gray file boxes on open wooden shelves housing material relating to different organizations. Some—Bbeyond, Catalyst, Golden Thread, and the Metropolitan Complex—continue to operate. Others, now defunct, are memories of ideas and ideals, such as Blue Funk, formed in 1989 by National College of Art and Design graduates including Valerie Connor, Brian Hand, and Jaki Irvine, to promote “media arts.”

Elsewhere, a mini exhibition shows a series of works by people connected to Pallas, including Gavin Murphy, whose laser-cut acrylic—Why has Ireland not displayed these international symptoms?, 2014—reworks a Brian O’Doherty text. The institutional art world is lampooned by Jim Ricks in Painting is Dyed, 2014, a tie-dyed take on a Sean Scully piece. There is a sense of frenetic and unfettered creativity to the installations, and yet the abiding feeling comes from those brooding gray boxes. The future appears to be artist run, but it is more than likely residing in the archive, waiting to be repeated as if it were new.