Dublin Contemporary 2011 – in brief

A few works on show at Dublin Contemporary (taken by me at press launch)

Unfortunately time’s run away from me this week (orientation! term starting! sabbatical starting! a bajazillion launches! trip to the US! I’m writing this from Terminal 2!)  the weekly update will resume next week.

In the meantime… Dublin Contemporary. It’s everywhere, it’s massive, and you can’t turn on the telly or open a newspaper this week without catching a glimpse of its inky eye, drawing you in like a big black hole o’art. I thought it hugely impressive + ambitious + crazy + fun + fascinating + am so glad it’s turned out magnificently. The bumpy road to realisation’s been no secret, but the curators and the staff have done an outstanding job in transforming Earlsfort Terrace into an unmissable art event. I won’t get a chance to visit satellite shows in the NGI, HL, RHA, etc. until next week, but reports are the solo/group shows are tremendous.

Just go. And give yourself lots and lots of time — I was there for almost 12 hours on Monday and *still* have to go back to take in the video pieces.

2 thoughts on “Dublin Contemporary 2011 – in brief

  1. Quentin says:

    I think that we must have been to different exhibitions. Dublin Contemporary fails on so many levels. Some of the Irish artists have stepped up to the mark, but the general level of shoddy one liners lack any subtlety, it unevenly paced, and ill served by a building that is a series of corridors leading to dead ends. The exhibition lacks any spirit, and is full of bombast that shows limited skill either by the curators or the artists. All of this is combined with a badly installed exhibition that is more akin to an art fair than it is to a large event for which the Irish tax payer who has has already paid for, and must pay again if they wish to enter. Dublin Contemporary is not indicative of the vibrant cultural scene in this country and hopefully we won’t have to put up with it for much longer.

  2. Emily MFG says:

    Hi Quentin, thanks for your comment (and apologies for the delayed response). I agree that perhaps the rushed timeline of the exhibition shows in some of the installation weaknesses, but would disagree fundamentally about the venue (Earlsfort Terrace) and the impression of the exhibition overall. If anything, the Terrace adds a disconcerting, disorientating atmosphere to the ‘Office of Non-Compliance’ that wouldn’t be nearly so forceful had it occupied more neutral quarters. I don’t really think it has much in common with an art fair, given that none of the work is for sale and much of it is very non-commercial (ie films, large/awkward installations).

    The point about the admission charge is valid enough, although given the scale of the show, fairly reasonable I would think.

    I think it’s an ambitious show — with plenty of risks — and doesn’t ‘play safe’ for a presumed conservative Irish visual arts audience. It has its flaws, but I certainly think the deep interest in the show, the amazing attendance at the launch event and subsequently, and the amount of conversation it’s generated are all indicative of the healthy visual arts scene in Ireland.

    Like its predecessors the ROSC exhibitions, folks will love and hate it (at times together!), and be irritated by the artworld pomposity and abstruseness inevitably part of the biennial format… but I’m glad it’s here. It’s certainly making my autumn much, much more interesting!

    Thanks for your thoughts, even if we disagree!

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