Brian Kennedy: Passage, Feb - Mar 2006
Passage | New Work by Brian Kennedy
9 February- 18 March 2006
MCAC is proud to present ‘Passage’ an exhibition of new work by international artist Brian Kennedy. As an artist Kennedy covers a broad spectrum of mediums including performance, sculpture, photography and installation. For his new installation, which has been made specifically for the Millennium Court Arts Centre, Kennedy will explore the concept of a journey. Integral to Kennedy’s work, the journey can be a physical one to a new country but it can also be a journey through the mind, time and place.
Last year, during a residency in Berlin, Kennedy investigated the art of Romanticism and Symbolism and how it placed a greater importance in creating a recognizable symbol rather than creating a revered painting. In this case the symbol Kennedy has chosen to represent the journey is skeletal frame of a curragh (kindly on loan to MCAC from Lough Neagh Boating Heritage Association & Community Foundation for Northern Ireland) hanging from the ceiling of Gallery 1 and surrounded by a series of large-scale cardboard islands. The boat was a symbol often used by the Romantic and Symbolist painters. The strange sails of ships arriving after a long voyage appear in the work of German Romantic, Caspar David Friedrich. Another example is the boat carrying a body to the island of the dead by the Swiss Symbolist painter Arnold Bocklin. The island pieces surrounding the boat emit a sound installation of wind and water creating the haunting atmosphere of a ghost ship, conjuring romantic images of the poem ‘Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the ‘Marie Celeste’ within the gallery space.
After leaving college Kennedy worked as a lobster fisherman, fishing in a curragh under the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare. The boat, more than any other form of transport, represents for him a way of discovery. Islands are another element that has fascinated him. The islands that appear in this artist’s visual landscape range from islands off the west coast of Ireland seen from the curragh, or those he saw last year around New Zealand. Earlier this year Brian documented the famous Twelve Apostles and other islands along the Great Ocean Road in Australia. The installation at MCAC is designed to both bring together and explore these various elements.
In Gallery 2 there will be an exhibition of photographs of golden eggs. Kennedy uses the golden egg to document his travels. Sometimes the egg is used to highlight a beautiful shape, as in the boulder rocks in New Zealand. At other times it becomes a decorative element as seen in photographs from Chinatown in San Francisco. In photographs from an Etruscan burial site the eggs refer to a sense of history; while those on top of a termite mound highlight strange shapes in the red desert of Australia. The pieces are real gilded hard-boiled eggs and are always left behind for others to discover and make of them what they will.
This show is the third and final exhibition in the ‘Human Condition: Human Responses’ series celebrating the human desire for adventure, discovery and enlightenment.