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Welcome to Dispatches, the National Sculpture Factory annual. Here we present reports of some of our activities and projects of 2011, a busy, productive and rewarding year. With Robin Lee Architects we have completed a capital development programme which, over two years, has seen significant and thoughtful interventions being made in the NSF facility and onto the façade. We now have a contemporary entrance which extends the NSF’s presence onto the street. In 2011 we were selected for European funding on a professional programme to enable artists, curators and other arts professionals to undertake residencies and significant curatorial research and development across Ireland, Germany, Scotland and Mexico. Our studios were operating to capacity and you will see some of the works, produced in the NSF throughout the year, in these pages. We commissioned several projects, collaborated with many organisations and festivals locally, nationally and internationally. We hosted workshops, sonic walks, films, dance workshops, performances, sound art events as well as experiments and we continue to advocate for the further involvement of artists in the built environment. At the NSF we realise nothing is possible without the creativity and the willing support of artists, so thank you all for your continued good will. We thank our principal funders: the Arts Council, Cork City Council and Fás, our project funders: Culture Ireland , our sponsors principally: Bord Gáis and Cork Rent a Van (we hope that list will be longer next year) our collaborators: Static, Mitchell+Associates and the Corona Cork Film Festival. Significantly, we also wish to genuinely and sincerely thank all those people we call on for support so often, in particular our colleagues in the cultural and education sector particularly in Cork: we borrow equipment and resources from you for many events and you continue to generously support us, so thank you for helping us make 2011 a great year at the NSF. Mary Mc Carthy, Director And the NSF Team: Donal Dilworth, Dobz O’Brien, Elma O’Donovan, Patricia Crowther, Grainne Creed, John Booth, Stephanie Hough and Jessie Mae WInchester (to Nov 2011). Designed by Anna Barden. NSF Board: Conor Doyle, Danny Mc Carthy, Trish Brennan, Cllr. Catherine Clancy, Oisín Creagh, Anne O’Leary, Michael Quane, Sean Taylor, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy
Maddie Leach Evening Echo. Courtesy of the artist
In 2008, Maddie Leach undertook a mid-career residency in the NSF, out of which she has developed a new art work for Cork City. Conceptually the project began in response to a number of city sites, and evidence of a certain ‘local knowledge’ which attested to the presence of a once sizeable and visible Jewish community in Cork. Specifically, Maddie has chosen Shalom Park – a small urban park in an area of Cork colloquially known as “Jew Town”. This neighbourhood is also home to the National Sculpture Factory. Through conversations with Fred Rosehill, and other members of Cork’s Jewish community, regarding the cessation of the Hebrew Congregation, Maddie explored thoughts and questions about what it might mean to be at this kind of cusp – both for the Jewish community and for other communities in Cork. She thought about how a place – gifted or ‘dedicated’ in the way that Shalom Park is – could become more intrinsically connected to its original intention, and therefore operate in quiet resistance to the subsidence of Cork’s Jewish community. For Evening Echo, Maddie Leach will install three new park lamps, to match the existing six in Shalom Park. These nine lamps make reference to the candelabra lit every year during the festival of Hanukkah. The Hebrew, or Jewish, calendar
is a lunisolar calendar and Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days starting on the 25th day of Kislev. This date each year is different and may fall at any time from late November to early January in the Gregorian calendar. One of the lamps sited will be taller than all the others and this lamp is the ‘shamash’ – the light from which all others will be lit. So each year on the final day of Hanukkah at twilight, this ninth lamp with light up for just twenty seconds and begin a sequence for all the other lamps to follow. The dates of lighting the ninth lamp will change according to the Hebrew calendar each year and would continue in perpetuity. The artist asked Cork City Council and the National Sculpture Factory to enter into a written agreement to ensure the annual lighting of the ninth lamp and the maintenance and care of all nine lamps in the park. This document will be a formal agreement made in ‘good faith’ by all parties. The project carefully considers ideas of permanence and sculpture – choosing to employ what can be called a ‘minor register’ in order for the work to challenge the weighty expectations and demands that both these terms bring with them – particularly in the realm of public commissioning. The project establishes a simple link to the Hanukkah lamp and recalls a small event which took place on April 28th 1989, the day Shalom Park was officially dedicated and opened by Cork’s Lord Mayor at the time Bernard Allen, whereby the occasion was briefly marked by the lighting of one of the gas lamps that stood in the park. A ‘text work’ that takes the form of a printed notice or announcement will appear in the Evening Echo newspaper and a catalogue published by NSF, will provide contextual information on the project and include key essays by Dr Mick Wilson (GRADCAM, Dublin) and Matthew Packer (Curator, Lewis Glucksman Gallery). This project is developed in partnership with Cork City Council and with the generous support of Bord Gáis. Maddie Leach was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1970. Her work is largely project-based, site-responsive and concept-driven.
Jesse Jones The Struggle Against Ourselves 2011. Photo Jedrzej Niezgoda
This is the second year of the collaboration between the National Sculpture Factory and the Corona Cork Film Festival and we were delighted to present the European première of The Struggle Against Ourselves, a new film by Irish artist Jesse Jones. This collaboration had a number of manifestations: firstly, the European première of Jesse’s new work produced earlier in the year while on residency at REDCAT gallery in LA, and secondly a two-day biomechanical workshop with LA theatre director Chi-wang Yang. This workshop took place on the Factory floor. To give audiences a context to this new work, we screened Jesse’s Trilogy of Dust series at the Triskel Arts Centre cinema space as part of the Corona Cork Film Festival programme. Jesse Jones’ new film The Struggle Against Ourselves, originally commissioned by REDCAT and produced at CalArts in early 2011, takes Vsevolod Meyerhold’s biomechanics etudes as its point of departure to position itself between the principles of Russian constructivism and its eventual appropriation by mass culture. It was made in collaboration with students from CalArts’ Schools of Theatre and Film/Video and Los Angeles theatre director Chi-wang Yang. Jones’ film is a restaging of Meyerhold’s biomechanical workshops which were influential to people such as pioneering Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein among others.
Jesse Jones The Struggle Against Ourselves 2011. Photo Jedrzej Niezgoda
The biomechanical workshop was held over two days on a dance floor where those who took part were introduced to two Meyerhold études: The Stone and The Bow. The dance floor was specifically designed to platform the physicality of the Meyerhold exercises and to reflect the mirrored activities projected onto the cinema screen. Jesse Jones’ practice reflects and re-presents historical moments of collective resistance and dissent. In her films and videos she explores the gesture of the revolutionary action. Jones’ work takes many forms: from gallery-based film and installation to large-scale public events. She has collaborated with many diverse groups – opera singers, marching bands and political activists. She has recently completed a year-long fellowship at Location One, New York; a solo exhibition at REDCAT Los Angeles and a new commission for the Collective Gallery in Edinburgh. She has shown internationally at the 9th Istanbul Biennial 2009 and Nought to Sixty at the ICA, London. Upcoming exhibitions include Artsonje Centre, Seoul, in 2013.
Seamus Nolan Flight NM7104. Photo Mike Hannon Media
Terminal Convention, consisting of four strands: Exhibition, Symposium, Art Fair and Music, was an internationally-significant art, film, music and discursive event and featured some of the world’s leading and emerging international artists, musicians and academics. The project took place 17-27 March 2011 and was set in the former Cork International Airport and Cork city centre music venues. The concept for the project was developed by Static Gallery, Liverpool, an arts organisation with a track record of delivering medium- to large-scale art, music and symposium events. As key cultural partner, the National Sculpture Factory selected and commissioned the Irish artists Seamus Nolan, Nevin Lahart, Martin Healy for inclusion in Terminal Convention exhibition, commissioning each to make new works. The symposium was partnered by Cork Institute of Technology, CIT Crawford College of Art & Design and Liverpool John Moores University School of Art and Design.
Seamus Nolan’s work Flight NM7104 involved the block booking of an internal flight to Cork Airport scheduled to land at Cork airport at 12:10 on the 18th March 2011. All the participants agreed not to show up for the flight and the arrival (or nonarrival) of the flight was to be announced in the Terminal building during this
Martin Healy Last Man. Photo Mike Hannon Media
time. Due to a tragic air accident in Cork Airport and the cancellation of the route, this proposed project was no longer possible so Seamus created a remarkable installation of the actual shadow of an aircraft on the floor of the old terminal. Seamus is an artist based in Dublin, chosen to represent Ireland for Europalia in Brussels, artist in residence in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the recipient of Wexford County Council’s inaugural Emerging Visual Artist Award.
Martin Healy’s Last Man follows a silent protagonist around a disused airport terminal as he continues with what seem to be a banal and futile set of tasks. His character, an apparition of a dystopian future or a nostalgic past, wanders like a ghost in an estranged world where air travel may already have become redundant or simply obsolete, either way recognising a technology now past or passing. Martin Healy lives and works in Dublin. He has recently had a solo show at Temple Bar Gallery 2011; was awarded the P.S.1 residency in NY in 2000/01 and was the recipient of the TBG & S and HIAP residency award in 2010.
Nevan Lahart Check In Cheque Out. Photo Mike Hannon Media
Check In Cheque Out
Nevan Lahart’s Check In Cheque Out was a mixed multi-media based installation - a social sculpture designed to encourage creativity in accountants rather than creative accountancy. It was designed to return €1500 of his budget back through all channels to the Department of Finance. Nevan Lahart lives in Dublin. He graduated from the NCAD with an MA in 2003. He has recently exhibited in Dublin Contemporary 2011 and in a private gallery in LA. The artists have since participated in an event in Liverpool’s Static Gallery and continue to receive attention via the project promotion. The Irish artists received very positive critical review in international press and journals. We are committed to showcasing and promoting Irish visual artists within diverse platforms in Ireland, where possible creating introductions to other international curators and organisations.
Anne Ffrench & Brian Harte The Gadfly. Photo Jedrzej Niezgoda
The National Sculpture Factory’s involvement this year for Culture Night centred around two performances, and provided an opportunity for the public to visit the facilities and experience the working studio environment.We exhibited an exciting kinetic installation, The Gadfly, by artists Anne Ffrench and Brian Harte, and we commissioned a solo performance by Cork-based sound/performance artist Vicky Langan under her working name Wölflinge.
The Gadfly is a large time-based sculptural work incorporating sixty feet of white
cowhide and two identical bronze-cast mangles set on steel plinths. The whirr of the motors, the selective lighting and the sensory reaction to the materials used (hair, cowhide, metal), set up dynamic opposites where time was measured and senses altered. The Gadfly was originally funded by the Arts Council under the Visual Arts Project Award, and was shown for the first time at Kinsale Arts Week 2011. The NSF was delighted to present the work again, giving it an extended life span.
Wölflinge created a vulnerable, visceral and physically-charged sound performance
where Langan’s body was tested to its limits, lying in a pool of manure while performing on a piano harp all the while labouring under its weight. Langan’s discomforting and troubling rituals bring an intensity to the shared performance space and a shared physical experience.
image: Robin Lee Architects
The National Sculpture Factory secured some capital funding through the Access 11 programme (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) and commissioned Robin Lee Architecture to develop a strategy for the entrance and frontage of the existing building. * Design The design proposal adds new objects and layers to the building frontage in an abrupt and direct manner in order that they can be clearly read as distinct from the original fabric of the building. An existing blind brick arch was identified as an opportunity for intervention. An infill panel of brickwork was carefully removed to create a new opening within a generally closed and defensive frontage. The scale of this opening allows the large interior single volume of space within the building to find an exterior expression. Through scale and articulation it allows mediation between the interior world of creative production and the adjacent dockland quays, which were the historic focus of labour and commerce.
image: Robin Lee Architects
In this context the historic warehouses presented blank and defensible frontages primarily for security purposes but also for reasons of robustness and utility. Discussions with National Sculpture Factory revealed a dual desire for enhanced public expression and for the maintenance of secure, uninterrupted working spaces for artists to develop and make sculptural work. The new frontage expresses a civic intent to engage with the city that is tempered with restraint to indicate that this is a working building rather than a public one. Apart from a single five-metre tall clear glass panel offering controlled views into the facility the new entrance assembly consists uniformly of panels of black polyurethane. The black rubber coating refers to the social and historical significance of the Dunlop tyre factory, which operated in the city from 1935 until 1983. Along with the Ford car plant and other places of industrial production such as the Sunbeam textile company which closed through the 1980s and 1990s the closure of the Dunlop factory signified the decline of traditional manufacturing and production industries and a shift to the new service and technological industries that occupy the city today. Robin Lee of Robin Lee Architects November 2011
Michael Prime Ha Ha Your Mushrooms are Gone. Photo by Mike Hannon Media
This project was initiated by the NSF to position Sound Art as a vibrant art form and raise critical discussion around the discipline. A series of installations, performances, seminars, presentations and workshops were presented over four weeks in various venues in Cork and Limerick. We collaborated with CIT Cork School of Music, CIT Crawford College of Art & Design and LIT Limerick School of Art and Design. Participants included international artists: Anne Bean, Stephen Vitiello, David Toop, Pauline Oliveros, Eric Leonardson, Nicolas Collins and Sabine Breitsameter and Irish artists Danny Mc Carthy, Sean Taylor, Soft Day, the Quiet Club, Paul Hegarty, Bernard Clarke and Mick O’Shea. The event was guest-curated by artists Danny Mc Carthy and Sean Taylor.
JUST LISTEN I
Stephen Vitiello Light Readings 2004/5 installation shot. Photo Mike Hannon Media
This event secured pages in the international journal The Wire and on the sound art scene locally and nationally. A showcase of Irish artists took place, Just Listening, and a CD was published and released in December, produced by Farpoint Recordings. This showcases the practice of twenty-three Irish-based artists and will allow the artists disseminate their work. International presenters were invited to attend Just Listening in Limerick and this element was supported by Culture Ireland through the See Here programme.
JUST LISTEN I
Laura Mangan installation shot (2011). Courtesy of the artist
Each year the National Sculpture Factory presents a number of Graduate Awards to a range of different practitioners across three colleges:
The NSF recognises the need to support artists as they leave college and begin to establish their practice. All awards offer the recent graduates a minimum of three months’ studio space and the full support of both our technical and curatorial staff, with the exception of the Crawford College of Art & Design Sculpture Graduate Award where the artist receives six months’ studio space with a stipend towards materials and also the possibility of a solo exhibition/presentation at the end of their term. This year’s graduates are: Laura Mangan, CCAD Sculpture; Deirdre De Courcy, CCAD Ceramic; Carla Burns, LSAD Sculpture; Natasha Edmonson, WIT Sculpture.
NSF Crawford College of Art & Design Sculpture Graduate Award. NSF Crawford College of Art & Design Ceramic Graduate Award. NSF Limerick School of Art & Design Sculpture Graduate Award. NSF Waterford Institute of Technology Sculpture Graduate Award.
Deirdre deCourcy Untitled courtesy of the artist
The success of our Graduate Awards can be seen directly as, earlier this year, two of last year’s graduates, Mollie Anna King and Kevin Callaghan, who worked very closely with our staff here, were both were awarded courses in London: the Slade School of Art and the Royal College of Art respectively. Mollie Anna King’s work questions the idea of a failed action. The work is a haphazard coalescence of everyday materials and objects brought together to form a systematically unplanned event. Failure is imminent. The only thing that her work can be sure of is its inability to fail. Kevin Callaghan’s work is interested in that space between East and West, where Asian aesthetics and architecture meet Western aesthetic values and judgement. One of our ceramic artists, Nedyalka Panova, has left earlier this year for a Masters course in Central St. Martins. Nedyalka is a ceramicist who also works in many other materials. Her area of expertise is in delicate translucent porcelain and bone china. The sources for her practice lie in nature itself and its many structural forms.
Mollie Anna King 37 Installation detail. Courtesy of the artist
Kevin Callagan Untitled. Courtesy of the artist
Johanna Billing I’m lost without your rhythm Film Still 2009. Courtesy of the artist
In 2010, the National Sculpture Factory initiated a collaboration with the Corona Cork Film Festival in order to position visual art film within a festival context. In 2010, we worked with internationally-renowned Swedish artist Johanna Billing, and presented a series of her works. For this project, we set up a very unique viewing experience where we screened six film and video works by Johanna and a special archive of her on-going project You don’t love me yet. Our event was constructed and staged in such a way that film was experienced on large cinema scale on our 9m x 6m screen, on a mini video installation in our mezzanine, which floats above the Factory floor, and on small portable DVD players connected to headphones. Johanna’s artistic practice is located between the importance of site, context and location; looking at the possibilities which exist within collaboration and participation. As part of the process, we engaged Johanna in the possibility of coming to Cork to make a new work in the city. We are delighted to announce that Johanna has accepted our offer and has committed to making a new work in Cork which will be premièred in 2012/13. Johanna will begin her early research and site visits in January and we are looking forward to her engagement with the city as part of our ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for Irish and international artists.
Frequencies is our annual Summer Lecture Series where over the period of five to six weeks the National Sculpture Factory invites a broad range of cultural specialists to present on a theme connected, or relating, to contemporary artistic practices and discourses. These talks are extensively promoted to a general audience. This year’s series, Frequencies III, looked at Art & Publicness – Art and its Public Responsibilities. Creative production in the public realm has always been fraught, now possibly more than ever with greater demands for democratic uniformity, for active community involvement and participation, financial accountability and cost benefit assessment. These issues and challenges were explored by both artists and commissioners alike, through the workings of a diverse range of creative arts practices and strategies, and creative commissioning and programming. This programme attracts capacity audience and enables us to connect with other constituencies and professionals. It also serves to engage studio artists and other cultural professionals in the city as well as providing us with live research. Programme Participants included John Kelly (Artist) The ‘ABC’ of John Kelly Art, Branding and Camouflage Cows Tom dePaor dePaor Architects The Alibi of Use Sarah Tuck (Director of Create) Reconstructing Artistic Identity through Collaborative Exchange Jesse Jones (Artist) Collaborative Knowledge Ruairí Ó Cuív (Public Art Manager Dublin City Council) Time and Place – Nurturing artistic creativity in Public Art Augustine O’Donoghue (Artist) Culture, Resistance and Social Change
Factory Floor. Photo Dobz O’Brien
The National Sculpture Factory provides facilities for working on installation, ceramics, glass, stone, metalwork and woodwork. Our studios are flexible and can accommodate work of diverse scales. Studio rental includes: technical assistance; use of all Factory floor equipment; canteen facilities; meeting room with wireless internet access, scanning, printing and photocopying facilities; use of reference library and NSF archive; loan service of audio-visual equipment; full administrative support if required. Please check nationalsculpturefactory.com for all details on available equipment and studio information.
NSF is proud to present the work of some of our studio artists. Nuala O’Donovan’s1 works are currently on exhibit in New York as part of Dubh; Dialogues in Black, a group exhibition in the Irish American Historical Society, New York City. This project forms part of the Imagine Ireland: Culture Ireland’s 2011 programme across America. Tom Climent’s2 practice of art to date has been as a painter, primarily one who uses perspective in the creation of space, but also one of his interests has been in how art addresses the body in space. He has started with this new work to solidify this space which up to now he had created twodimensionally. (Image Mike Hannon Media) Cormac Boydell3 (Fion mac Cúil) used the NSF as a studio base while working on large works for two exhibitions in France in 2011. James L Hayes’4 In celebration of two non-events…is a two-part installation utilising a range of found materials from the former military Fort Camden site. Most significant is the use (or re-use) of collected cast iron. Alex Pentek’s5 Orchids (2011) was selected by open international competition for Burlington City, Ontario, Canada. Kevin Callaghan’s6 stainless steel origami birds, a private commission for the
MADE IN THE NSF
Bodega Bar in Cork City, (Photos Mike Hannon Media 2011).Thirteen fabricated birds three and a half feet in length, this commission is entitled Transmigration. Don Cronin’s7 Horse and Rider was commissioned by the village of Innishannon, Co. Cork, to mark the historic fording point on the Bandon River around which the village developed. It was modelled and cast in the artist’s studio and assembled in the NSF. Eva Isleifsdottir8 is an Icelandic artist and came to the NSF on a six-week residency. It’s a Sign (Photograph Irene Murphy). Mick Wilkins’9 recent works stem from his response to the abuse that existed within the Magdalene Laundries. He has focused on austere symbols of vessels and female figures to portray in a minimal way, life full of imposed irony. Joy Mc Allen’s10 baptismal panel is sited in Saleen Church, Aghada, Midleton, Co. Cork. Tom Dalton’s11 work in now located on Portmarnock golf course very close to where John Jameson is buried in the grounds of St Marnock’s Church.
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