Press Release for The Future Perfect : We Are Here
Rubicon Gallery has located to Brussels for 3 months to present two collective exhibitions, and four solo-film projects, featuring artists from Ireland (19 artists in total). Rubicon Projects Brussels exhibition programme will operate from Rue Tenbosch 74 (former site of TWIG gallery). This project is a significant part of the CULTURE CONNECTS programme celebrating Irelands Presidency of the European Union.
Basing the gallery in Brussels, presenting the artists and their work here for three months we feel we can make a significant statement about contemporary art practise from Ireland and be really 'present' to answer collectors, critics and public questions.
Rubicon Projects Brussels [March/April/May 2013]
The Future Perfect: Artists from Ireland
We Are Here 07.03 / 13.04.2013 Vernissage Thursday 7th March; 18:00-21:00
Anita Groener, Ronnie Hughes, Eithne Jordan, Barbara Knezevic, Nevan Lahart, Niamh McCann, Siobhan McGibbon, Garrett Phelan
Solo Film Presentations
Martin Healy 07.03 / 23.03
Jesse Jones 26.03 / 13.04
We Are Here
Where are we? Caught in a maelstrom of social, economic, cultural and geopolitical change, the first decades of the twenty first century seem to be the embodiment of that infamous Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. As ideas of borders collapse, altering our concepts of culture, identity and home; boundaries change and certainties disappear. There is, however, a great deal to be said for experiencing the interesting. For when is a better time to decide to see, to do, to discover things differently?
And worse I may be yet. The worst is not
So long as we can say “This is the worst.”
Edgar’s aside, in Act 4, Scene 1, of Shakespeare’s towering tragedy, King Lear,* finds bleak promise in the simple act of standing up and declaring a defiant presence. So long as we can speak, articulate, visualise, so long as we can claim the territory of imagination and eloquence, the future is not set, however negative its trajectory appears.
Here, is where remarkable artists thrive, and here is where the best work becomes a prism for seeing through to the other side of how things are, and how things might be. Through a complexity of vision, balanced against a clear sighted undertaking of the responsibility not to shirk the task of seeing; we are presented with views of the world that just might form the basis of establishing a point, a sensibility from which a different conception of the future may flow.
Writing in his highly influential introduction to The Irish Imagination, an international touring exhibition held during a previous, more localised recession in 1971, Roscommon-born writer, critic and acclaimed artist, Brian O’Doherty, described Irish art’s “restless fix on the unimportant”. Despite an increasing internationalisation of aesthetic, I would argue that some of this sensibility remains, and that this is the time to explore the work of artists who refuse the grand, the monumental, the declarative gesture of claiming certainty, knowledge, importance. For haven’t all these been shown to be false? By bringing that discourse to Brussels with this series of exhibitions, Dublin’s Rubicon Gallery has done something special.
In the words of another famous Irish man, Nobel Literature Laureate, George Bernard Shaw, there is a positive power to be found in dreaming vision:
You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”
These lines, from Back to Methuselah, were taken up by President John F Kennedy in a speech to the Irish Parliament in 1963, and later by his brother, Senator Robert Kennedy. Politicians know the value of a good line. But the sting in the tail? Shaw placed them in the fork-tongued mouth of the Serpent tempting Eve.
But perhaps now, in these interesting times, this is the moment to succumb to some imaginative temptations. What we can know for certain is that the “here” of the artworks in this exhibition is informed by cultural location, at the same time as carrying a universal resonance that transcends geography and boundaries. So how do we know where here is? Because of the simple fact that we are here.
Gemma Tipton is an art critic and journalist based in Dublin, writing for The Irish Times and Artforum.com. She also works as an independent curator.
*King Lear is currently on stage at Ireland’s national theatre, The Abbey, until 23 March 2013. www.abbeytheatre.ie