Stephen Brandes: The Last Travelogue of Joseph M. 11 June – 24 July 2010
Joseph M. happens to find himself falling - from the top of the tallest building in Lower Saxony. As he falls, he recounts memories from his years of travelling both for business and pleasure. Employing drawing, painting, collage and other forms of visual representation Brandes presents a surreal and often darkly humorous anti-narrative portrait (or ‘exploded fiction’) of Europe as described through his fictional protagonist, Joseph M.
Brande’s initial body of work grew from a visual diary (made in 1999) of his grandmother’s flight through Europe, to escape from the pogroms in Romania in 1913. Since making this diary and the accompanying trip across Europe in 1999 he has also taken inspiration, for his new work, from a variety of sources ranging from absurdist literature, comedy, design, old European travel guides and found photographs (which are used in collage throughout his work). Encompassing a lexicon of styles and materials from small paintings and collages, to vast highly detailed drawings on unconventional surfaces such as used floor vinyl, history is interwoven with his own experience and invention - as if told by a bewildered traveller whom we suspect has only left his armchair to put on the kettle. Throughout his work, Brandes misquotes both the familiar and exotic to absurd effect, whilst injecting the fantastical with deadpan humour and dry social observation.
Born in Wolverhampton, UK Stephen Brandes has lived and worked in Cork since 1993. He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale 2005 as part of ‘Ireland at Venice’, and has shown in numerous exhibitions both in Ireland and internationally. Solo projects include: A Grand Tour of the Invisible North, Galerie Robert Drees, Hannover, Germany, 2009; Walpurgisnacht, Rubicon Gallery, Dublin, 2008; Why Travel? Right Here is Fantastic!, Ardbia Gallery, Galway, 2007; Chutzparadiso, West Cork Arts Centre, 2006; Klutz Paradiso, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin, 2006; Ways of Escape, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, 2004. Public collections include the Irish Museum of Modern Art, An Chomhairle Ealaíon /The Arts Council, AIB Bank and Crawford Gallery, Cork. Brandes has also worked on several curatorial projects, most notably Superbia, commissioned by Breaking Ground in Ballymun, Dublin, 2003 and with artists Mick O’Shea and Irene Murphy formed the absurdist culinary performance group, The Domestic Godless.
He is represented by Rubicon Gallery, Dublin