Aleksandra Mir

Monuments

By Mark Sladen
Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford, April 2013

PRESS RELEASE

20 April – 30 September 2013
Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford

Featuring Pablo Bronstein, Iman Issa, Aleksandra Mir, Yorgos Sapountzis and Dahn Vo; curated by Mark Sladen.

Monuments features five artists whose work addresses the role that monuments and memorials play in our society. The exhibition includes sculpture, works on paper, video and performance, with notable pieces that include large fragments of a reconstruction of the Statue of Liberty by Dahn Vo, and an architectural work created especially for Lismore Castle’s garden by Pablo Bronstein.

Lismore Castle is a site rich in monuments, and one reference point for the exhibition is the role of stately homes and gardens in memorialising their creators. The place of vanity and propaganda in the history of monuments can of course make such structures an easy target for satire. However, while all of the exhibiting artists adopt a sceptical stance towards monument-making, they also demonstrate its ongoing importance in shaping our sense of ourselves.

The works of Pablo Bronstein (born 1977 in Buenos Aires, lives in London) contain a satirical commentary on the history of Western architecture, with a special focus on the architecture of power. Bronstein is represented in the exhibition by a set of computer-rendered drawings of fantastical corporate buildings, as well as by the aforementioned installation in the garden – an elegant neoclassical structure with some primitive associations.

Iman Issa (born 1979 in Cairo, lives in Cairo and New York) is showing three works from her Material series. These take the form of models, with titles such as Material for a sculpture proposed as an alternative to a monument that has become an embarrassment to its people (2010). Issa’s constructions may be absurdist – the aforementioned work consists of two light bulbs that fade in and out – but they also demonstrate a desire to create monuments that are adequate to real experience.

Aleksandra Mir (born 1967 in Lubin, Poland, lives in London) is represented in part by The Seduction of Galileo Galilei (2011), a video depicting a group of people attempting to build a giant tower from tyres. The artist is also showing a set of digital collages which depict proposals for a work involving a giant inflatable aircraft. Mir’s practice explores human aspiration and folly, and is marked by a gentle satire from which the artist herself is not excluded.

The performances of Yorgos Sapountzis (born 1976 in Athens, lives in Berlin) often involve groups of people in actions that resemble parades or demonstrations, and often result in improvised structures that are akin to temporary monuments. At Lismore the artist is making a new performance for the opening night of the exhibition, a performance – involving the simple materials that are a feature of his work – that will leave a residue behind in the galleries.

Dahn Vo (born 1975 in Vietnam, lives in Berlin) is showing sections of We the People (2011). This hugely ambitious work is a life-size recreation, in moulded copper, of the surface of the Statue of Liberty. Pieces of the replica are continually being shown and circulated around the world, its image fractured and displaced into many different contexts. Vo’s complex work examines the changing nature of this most famous monument – and all that it represents – in an era of globalisation.

Alongside Monuments, Lismore Castle Arts will present a series of exhibitions in its project space St Carthage Hall. The season opens with Of Faith And Sky, a solo exhibition of works made by the late Willie McKeown in Lismore during the early 2000s, and which formed the basis of his exhibitions at Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin and his participation in the Northern Ireland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Future exhibitions include Flooded McDonalds by Superflex, The Sun Shone On The Nothing New by MJ Whelan and a national graduate exhibition.

Lismore Castle Arts is committed to the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual art in Southern Ireland. It hosts exhibitions of international significance alongside a series of smaller exhibitions, projects and events as well as a comprehensive education programme. Artists who have shown to date include Matthew Barney, Sherrie Levine, Jason Rhoades, Gerard Byrne, Richard Long, Gillian Carnegie and Hans Josephsohn