b. 1966, Dublin, Ireland.
Over two decades, Jaki Irvine has built a substantial and highly acclaimed body of film and video art that is profoundly concerned with the limits of human knowledge and experience. Irvine’s engrossing, elliptical narratives are at times composed of fragments of everyday life—mundane incidents that, viewed via Irvine’s singular, assiduously selective gaze, become occasions of heightened strangeness. Equally, Irvine’s films might concentrate on situations of extreme human feeling; of love and hate, or possession and loss. In each case, however, she points to ways that stable meanings seem to slip away just as they appear possible. In Irvine’s art, the world can appear one moment to be full of connections and coincidences, full of possibilities of reliable knowledge, and yet, a moment later, the same world can seem utterly devoid of meaning.
One recurring interest in this regard has been in human/animal connections, or rather, our inevitable human disconnection. Irvine has been fascinated with the ways in which animals can seem like us, and we like them, yet at the same time they have a perception of the world that we can never inhabit (and barely imagine). In studying such subjects, Irvine weaves together non-linear narratives in which image, voice-over and musical score variously overlap, coalesce and diverge. These languid explorations of human interaction with the natural world, the built environment, and with other humans are suffused with a melancholic lyricism and leavened by a dark, dreamlike humour. Consistently, Irvine’s art attends to the boundaries between body and mind, self and other, human and animal and, in the seductive mysteries of her remarkable visuals, between the real and the imagined.
Jaki Irvine currently lives and works in Dublin and Mexico and is a regular artist advisor at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions include If the Ground Should Open..., Irish Museum of Modern Art (2016); The LAB, Dublin (2010); Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin (2009); The Model, Sligo (2006), travelling to Chisenhale Gallery, London (2007); SMART, Amsterdam (2006); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2005, 1999); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2005).
In 1997, Irvine represented Ireland at the 47th Venice Biennale.