t: +353 1 222 5550
t: +353 1 222 5550
From the Hugh Lane Gallery Exhibition Archive 2010 #flashbackfriday returns to: The Golden Bough: Gavin Murphy
We had many conversations with artist Gavin Murphy in 2010 that introduced us to a wide breath of ideas focusing on collective memory and its bearing on the construction of our visual history. Gavin was the eighth artist to respond to our series of exhibitions that focused on the highly influential nineteenth century novel by James George Frazer, entitled ‘The Golden Bough’. He makes works through an assemblage of fabricated elements, sourced and found objects, video, sound and photography with references to art history and critical theory that form a spatial and temporal narrative.
For this exhibition in 2010, titled ‘Remember’, Gavin used critical and historical documents; texts from French novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) and legendary Italian film director Federico Fellini (1920-1993), along with the hidden fabric of Charlemont House itself, home to the Hugh Lane Gallery, to address The Golden Bough themes of: the ordering knowledge, ideas and cultural history.
In Gallery 8, an oval room accessed through the Sculpture Hall, the viewer was greeted with a looped audio appraisal of the work on show. This spoken word work titled ‘The Necessity of Ruins’ (2010) was a collection of fragmented texts and documents, and referred to ideas of the ruin, art and literature, the museum, and the novel. The two large museum wooden benches that take a foothold of the floor space were subtly disguised with two acrylic and hardwood screens. On the wall, ‘Eulogy to the Blank Page’ (2010) was a sculptural laser-cut acrylic rendering of a section of dialogue from Fellini’s highly influential classic fantasy drama, ‘8 ½’ (1963), for which the artist also commissioned a new typeface ‘Personal (Stencil)’: “We suffocate under words, images and symbols, which have no reason to exist. They come from the void and go towards the void. A truly worthy artist should be asked for nothing but this act of sincerity: to educate himself to silence.”
Gavin Murphy’s practice questions the idea of necessity in art, while refusing to define or distinguish the contemporary from the anachronistic, or accept definite perspectives. In this way the works oscillate between the wonder and futility of investigation. A decade later we return to a quote referenced in the exhibition from Milan Kundera’s critically appraised seven part essay ‘The Curtain’ (2005): "Against our real world, which by its very nature is fleeting and worthy of forgetting, works of art stand as a different world, a world that is ideal, solid, where every detail has its importance, its meaning, where everything in it – every word, every phrase – deserves to be unforgettable and was conceived as such.” As we look back each week through the exhibitions in our archive, igniting a collective memory of what was before lockdown, how and what will we remember (or forget) when we transition out of this period?
Gavin Murphy is a Dublin-based artist and curator with an interest in cultural sites and histories. His research-based, intertextual practice involves the assemblage of unique fabricated elements, sourced and found objects, images and texts, with an interest in the sculptural possibilities of cinematic structures and mise en scène. Murphy is co-director/curator of Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin. Solo exhibitions include Double Movement, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, 2017; In Art We Are Poor Citizens, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, 2014; Something New Under the Sun, Royal Hibernian Academy, 2012; Colophon, Oonagh Young Gallery, 2012; Remember, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, 2010; and Moving Deaths, The Lab, 2008.
For more information please visit http://www.hughlane.ie/past/123-the-golden-bough-gavin-murphy-remember and www.gavinmurphy.info