Artworks 2023 - Remembering the Future | Vanessa Donoso López


Artworks 2023 takes the title Remembering the Future. This inherently impossible proposition is intended to raise questions about the perception of time and reality, and how these abstract concepts might be utilised to reflect the world as we see it, or other worlds as we might imagine them. Included are works that address these ideas from both real and imagined histories and futures, using, among other methods: speculative archaeology, mourning processes, traditional crafts, and engagements with the natural world.


The exhibition is anchored by the first large scale exhibition in a visual art context of the Irish Names Project quilts, a series of works made in the 1990s in Dublin to commemorate victims of the AIDS crisis. At the time, in Ireland and elsewhere, there was significant stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, and the making of the quilts provided a way of the loved ones of those lost to mourn through making in supportive environment, while honouring the lives and memories of their loved ones. By showing this work now, we remember the experience of a community at a time when societal attitudes were less tolerant, and ask how we can learn from that history in the present and into the future. In the centre of the main gallery is a video featuring the late Mary Shannon, who initiated the Irish Names Project in 1990, talking about the history and context of the work.


Also included in the centre of the main gallery is an ongoing embroidery project by a group of local participants under the title Amend an End, which was initiated at VISUAL in 2023 in response to the Irish Names Project. Their collectively decorated tablecloth will be further developed over the course of the exhibition, and visitors are invited to contribute their own patches which will be incorporated into the final piece. More information on this project is available in the central space.


Alongside the Names Project quilts, a new commission of work in Sinéad Kennedy’s ongoing Grand Land project also utilises craft methodologies as a way of telling stories through textiles. Grand Land is a speculative world building exercise whose inhabitants pass down histories through banners and flags. In the Link gallery, Kennedy’s curtains swathe the gallery in a new light; objects from another world. In the Studio Gallery, Kennedy’s flags are paired with Brianna Hurley’s paintings of the fantasy planet Castalia, an world that acts as the backdrop of the fight for freedom of an oppressed people, with the artist as their ally.


The exhibition includes work from a diverse range of local, national and international artists working in a variety of media drawn from the Artworks open call. Together, these works highlight the importance of both remembering the past, and imagining the future.

8 June 2023