Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall, Ireland

24 October – 6 December 2015

Group exhibition

Playfully titled after nineteenth century architect and critic Augustus Welby Pugin, Lynch’s exhibition explores the attitudes that underpin human relationships to the environment. Pugin’s catholic sensibilities, as expressed through large-scale architectural and ornamental design (seen throughout Lismore Castle and London’s Houses of Parliament) promoted the idea of glorified unity and strict coherence to a singular vision. With this belief, all the forces of nature, human perseverance and morality would fuse together into an energised whole. Reverse!Pugin imagines a different kind of legacy, deconstructing Pugin’s ideals to dwell in the conflicts and frictions found in how environments are shaped and mediated. There’s no hierarchical masterplan or spiritual identity to be found here - rather the artworks and objects selected by Lynch bargain, hustle and improvise with a variety of particular locations and social formations. In this accumulation, featuring postindustrial landscapes and garden design, Hollywood movies and Internet infrastructure, casinos and antiquarian watercolours, there is little holistic certainty. Rather, the devil resides in the details...

An overview of filmic representations of Skellig Michael rock is presented, contextualising the Irish governments’ capitulance of the World Heritage site to Disney’s latest installment of the Star Wars franchise. Celtic Tiger recollections include a large model of 1996’s proposed Sonas (translated as “Happiness”) Centre in Dublin, featuring a bespoke replica of a megalithic stone circle. Fiona Marron and Sam Keogh question today’s communication systems and devices. Stephen Brandes, John Latham and Diarmuid Gavin exhibit various approaches to the construction and ideology of monuments. Stonemason Philip Quinn presents materials he uses each day in restoration work at Lismore Castle and Michele Horrigan updates antiquarian representations, while Daniel Knorr fervently collects rubbish from around the streets of Ireland and turns it into books. In these and other instances, Reverse!Pugin proposes a version of geography far away from tranquil uniformity and the comforts of identifying with history and heritage. Instead, everything constantly mutates and nothing ever stays the same.

Reverse!Pugin features contributions by Gabriel Beranger, Stephen Brandes, Burke Kennedy Doyle architects, Central Bank of Ireland, Kenneth Clark, Diarmuid Gavin, Werner Herzog, Sam Keogh, Daniel Knorr, Michele Horrigan, John Latham, Fiona Marron, David A. Paton, Philip Quinn, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and Bold Puppy Multimedia Productions. A fully illustrated publication with an essay by Sean Lynch and designed by Paul McAree accompanies the exhibition.

About the curator:

Sean Lynch (b.1978, Kerry) has recently presented exhibitions at CAPC Bordeaux, Modern Art Oxford, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow. He is represented by Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin and Ronchini, London. Reverse!Pugin runs concurrently to his representation of Ireland at the 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. His solo exhibition in Venice, entitled Adventure: Capital, is presented until November 22.

St Carthage Hall is located on Chapel Street, Lismore (behind Lismore Heritage Centre) and is open Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 1pm-6pm. Admission is free.

About Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall

In 2011 Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall was opened as a second exhibition venue, for Lismore Castle Arts, in the town of Lismore. The hall was built in the late nineteenth century as a place of worship. To date artists who have exhibited include Dorothy Cross, Camille Henrot, William McKeown, Roman Signer, Superflex, TJ Wilcox and Corban Walker.

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