Critics’ Picks

  • View of “Light and Language,” 2021.

    View of “Light and Language,” 2021.


    “Light and Language”

    Lismore Castle Arts
    Lismore Castle Arts Lismore
    March 28–October 10, 2021

    Curated by Lisa Le Feuvre, “Light and Language” places the work of Nancy Holt—renowned for her involvement in the Land art and Conceptualism—in dialogue with that of contemporary artists. Anchoring the exhibition, Holt’s large-scale installation Electrical System, 1982, an expansive armature of more than a hundred light bulbs, occupies the central gallery. Typifying Holt’s “systems sculptures,” the work exposes the apparatus usually concealed within the bowels of the building, proposing this otherwise invisible infrastructure as a language in and of itself.

    From here, we may see evidence of Holt’s legacy of site-specific installation exhibited around the grounds of the castle, as artists play with articulation and presence. Mounted against one of the castle’s exterior walls, Charlotte Moth’s circular mirror Blue reflecting the greens, 2021, casts the blooming garden foliage in cerulean. Katie Paterson’s billboard Inside this desert lies the tiniest grain of sand, 2010, bears a photograph from a piece that saw the artist using nanotechnology to chisel down a single grain of sand from the Sahara before returning it to its point of origin. The image of a sole figure amid the dunes strikes a sharp contrast with the lush grounds of Lismore. Framing the landscape and those who inhabit it, these works speak to Holt’s efforts in staking her own position within a vast expanse. Toying with this idea, Dennis McNulty’s geolocated audio piece Boundary Conditions, 2021, describes a network of backstreets around his home in Dublin. It can be accessed via app from one of four sites: Lismore; the artist’s childhood home in Walkinstown, Dublin; and Clifton, New Jersey, and Greenwich Street in downtown New York City, two places where Holt lived and worked. The piece effectively uses language to allow its listeners to experience multiple sites simultaneously.