Author Archive

RAUM | Elaine Byrne | 10.01-9.02 2013

Written by Lara on . Posted in Exhibitions


Elaine Byrne’s installation Raum is a haunted space, constructed from melancholy,  symbolic fragments of ways of living that have faded away, and thinking that never was. This exhibition is a tribute to difference neutralized by the uncompromising normativepressures of what modernity actually is.

Raum, presented by artist Elaine Byrne, brings two worlds together in two parrallel spaces: one physical, one imaginative.

WORLD 1: This exhibition articulates this first world, as the ‘thought’ world of Frederick Kiesler, awkwardly described as an Austrian-American, avant-garde, sculptor, theatre and exhibition designer and architect. Kiesler was a man who spent a lifetime ignoring conventions and persistently asking of the world around him: simple, fundamental questions, such as ‘How are we to live?’ – the kind of questions that got Socrates killed. Kiesler suffered the less dramatic, but arguably as fatal, fate of being largely ignored, sidelined by architects as a utopian dreamer who only built three buildings. However, in his manifestos, writings and innovative exhibition designs, he consistently returned to first principles, arguing that our built environment be designed around the well-being of the ‘psyche of the dweller’. He was deeply antagonistic to modernism architectural practices , arguing that these employed the veneer of the modern to disguise the ruthless logic of economic efficiency.

“Man’s living needs are simple. They become complicated and hypocritical only as a result of artificial stimulations – in architecture as elsewhere. Honest building can be done in wood, mud and stone, just as dishonest building can be done with alpha glass and beta aluminum”

Extract from ‘Pseudo-functionlism in Modern Architecture’, Frederick Kiesler. Published in ‘Partisan Review’, July 1949

SPACE 1: Byrne fills the gallery with an amended reconstruction of part Kiesler’s monumental structure  ‘Raumstadt’ (‘City in Space’) originally built in the Grand Palais, Paris (1925) as the Austrian contribution to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Kiesler’s structure was a ground breaking, multi-element installation that incorporated the work of other artists and designers.  It  was itself a sculptural work, which displayed other artists’ work afresh, breaking the dull, conventional ways of presentation and seeing which Kielser thought killed the power of creativity. By actively involving the spectator, Kiesler wanted the viewer to add his contribution to the creative act.

Byrne’s space is a re-invoking of the imaginative world of utopian thinkers such as Kielser. It is a world, seen from our time, of phantoms ideas and ghosts of possibilities that never came to be.

WORLD 2: The second world is the past world of a settled Irish traveller, Hanni Harty, whose cottage in County Limerick has been adandoned since her death in 1994.Byrne presents this world through the lens of context, and time, looking at the practically tangible space between realities and dreams as we can see it.

SPACE 2: Byrne’s reconstruction of Kiesler’s framework of display, which is in the scale of Hanni’s cottage, contains sounds, artifacts,  as well as photographs from Hanni’s house. A two-room house, made primarily of wattle and daub, once brightly and intimately decorated by Hanni, is now a beautiful, chromatic ruin. It is an actual space with a real history, an ‘honest building’ in Kiesler’s terms, but not from the cold mega-city of the modernist future.

In Raum, Byrne examines the query at the heart of Modernism, articulating that Modernism is at the very least, built on ruins.  Many of those imagined, utopian futures are merely unconsciously reiterated ways of living that already have been, and are now lost.

‘…Cathedrals were built by slum dwellers…’

                                                                  Frederick Kiesler

Text – Nick Hackworth, London

Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present a talk with Nick Hackworth, author, critic and director of Paradise Row, London, in response to RAUM, Elaine Byrne 
Friday 8th February 2013, 6pm.


Robert Armstrong

Written by Lara on . Posted in Artists


(b. 1953) in Gorey, Co.Wexford and Lives and works in Dublin.

“Armstrong’s paintings re-order the fragments of a disorientated image culture. They attempt to penetrate through multiple layers of appearence, offering an incidental practice of looking in which, as T.J. Clark proposes in relation to Poussin, the image, “breaks up, recystallizes, fragments again, persists like an after image”. ”

– Declan Long, Robert Armstrong: AfterImage (2007)

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Featured at VOLTA10 Basel, 16 June- 22 June 2014

Links to previous shows;

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Assumptions, January 16th – February 15th 2014

Group Show – Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo, 29 July – 28 August 2010

Selective Perspectives, Group Show, 30 May – 27 June 2013

Building Sights, Robert Armstrong, Tadhg McSweeney, Mark Swords, 4 – 27 November 2010

Group Show – Above The Fold, Group Show, 8 – 23 December 2009

Blimp on the Horizon, 02 April 2009 – 25 April 2009


Michael Boran

Written by Lara on . Posted in Artists

(b. 1964) in Portlaoise, lives and work in Dublin.

The photographs of Michael Boran track the fleeting traces of interactions between people and places. Tracing and mapping different movements and directions across the surface, they open up a bird’s eye view of underlying patterns and shifting co-ordinates. Often utilising aerial viewpoints from a height at which the camera seems to be about to float away from the world, Boran’s photographs offer the viewer unfamiliar visions of the familiar. Notions of scale and transference between micro and macro-cosmos are explored in a manner of mapmaking.
Searching, positioning and mapping are recurrent themes both by the artist and the protagonists who seem to wander into the frame. These maps attempt to measure not only the four points of the pictorial compass, but also look inward, into the realm of mystery, synchronicity and underlying principals. Boran’s scientific approach is also evident in the general sense in which he moves beyond questioning our notions of the real, to attempt a deeper analysis of the actual through the creation of ‘photographic’ evidence. His images suggest an experimental laboratory of the everyday, presenting a map of a journey which moves from the specific to the underlying principals that govern.
Download CV | Reviews | Artist Website | Publications
Link to previous shows;

Through the Undergrowth, April 4th – 3oth 2016

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Parallel Lines, Michael Boran & Igor Eskinja, 10 March – 2 April 2011

Elaine Byrne

Written by Lara on . Posted in Artists


Byrnes  research-based practice examines overlooked histories, historical texts and artworks as a platform to mobilize history as it relates to current political and social concerns.For example, she has leveraged Frederick Kiesler’s 1925 architectural manifesto to interrogate the housing crisis in Ireland.

Employing sculpture, video and photography she focuses on opening new questions for the viewer to highlight present day urgencies. Giving prominence to language her methodology often uses the interview as a way to confront difficult legal or civic issues, e.g., using James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), the ‘Pure Codology’ interviews address the anti-Semitism in Hungary through the local attitude to Bloomsday.

Download CV | Artist Website | Reviews

Link to previous shows;

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

RAUM, 10 January – 9 February 2013

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Anna Bjerger.Oliver Comerford.Diana Copperwhite | 22.11-22.12 2012

Written by Lara on . Posted in Exhibitions


Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present new paintings by Anna Bjerger(SWE), Oliver Comerford(IE) and Diana Copperwhite(IE).

“Anna Bjerger paints heartbreaking utopias from magazine clippings. Filled with breezy landscapes and loose limbed figures, her work evokes the summer vacation version of Matisse’s Cote d’Azur. Her pictures pit ordinary life against extraordinary memories; because those reminiscences are basically voyeuristic, her paintings capture a realm of the senses that is bittersweet as anything produced by the sensualist painter of Luxe, Calme et Volupte.” Christian Viveros- Faunes

“Comerford’s paintings are , to a very significant degree, contemplative in mode-they show us spaces of suspense, but also of extraordinary, captivating stillness-and yet these unending journeys towards the edge of everyday life suggest an almost frenetic quest for calm: an unceasing and agitated striving, a hyperactive hankering for a setting, a sensation beyond the congested, contained conditions of urban existence” Declan Long

“Diana Copperwhite constantly mentions  a musical logic and a sense of musical notation and tonality as she describes the act of painting. But, on the other hand, she insists that she does not pre-stucture, that she allows one colour to suggest another, that the element of gesture and chance is essential as is the flash of insight and the swift ability then to structure it, to carry it out.” Colm Tóibín