For his solo exhibition at Kerlin Gallery, Gerard Byrne presents a new video installation, In Our Time. Commissioned for the 2017 edition of Skulptur Projekte Münster, In Our Time depicts the daily activities of an archetypal commercial radio station, provoking questions around the relationship between radio broadcasting, time, pop music and collective memory.
Although a 'period' piece, the exact setting of In Our Time remains hard to define, as it depicts a presenter at work in a wood-pannelled American radio studio, playing classic pop songs, taking call-ins and addressing his absent audience via microphone. The camera floats over the period details that make up Byrne's meticulous mise-en-scène: cassettes and vinyl, microphones, speakers and the various other hardware used to coalesce pop music, call-ins and news bulletins into a seamless ethereal broadcast. Of non-fixed duration, In Our Time plays back in sync with actual time of day during the gallery opening hours, and as such establishes a rich relationship between the hidden space of the radio broadcast depicted, and the physical circumstances of the gallery viewer. As with many of Byrne’s previous works, In Our Time conjoins ideas of naturalism from film, physical presence from theatre, together with the concrete temporality of radio broadcasting, into a hybrid form influenced by Bertolt Brecht.
In Our Time is a study of radio as a model of time, from the micro level of adverts or radio jingles, to the macro level of timeless pop classics. The artist utilises and emphasises radio's inherent tapestry-like structure where different references and songs are interwoven, and key motifs are repeated at various intervals throughout the day. Radio’s inherently rhythmic nature – from daily music or talk programmes to updates on weather or traffic repeated at symmetric intervals throughout the hour – creates a modular structure of indefinite duration, similar to the serial qualities of Minimalism. With a focus on this structure and the materiality of the radio studio and its contents, Byrne continues an ongoing interest in the legacies of Minimalism, and the ways in which art engages its own place in time.
Gerard Byrne was born in 1969 in Dublin, Ireland, where he lives and works. Selected solo exhibitions include Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2017); ACCA, Melbourne; Mead Gallery, UK (2016); GrazMuseum, Austria; Kunstmuseum St Gallen, Switzerland (2015); Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2012); IMMA, Dublin (2011); The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2011); Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland (2010); The Common Guild, Glasgow (2010); ICA Boston (2008); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2008); Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2007); MUMOK, Vienna (2006). In 2007, Byrne represented Ireland at the 52nd Venice Biennale. He has also participated in Skulptur Projekte Münster (2017), dOCUMENTA 13 (2012); Performa, New York (2011); the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Auckland Biennial (2010); Gwangju Biennial (2008); Sydney Biennial (2008); Lyon Biennial (2007); Tate Triennial (2006); and the Istanbul Biennale (2003).