Curated by Sheena Barrett and Donal Maguire
March 24 - June 11 2016
3-channel 35mm color - slide film projection, duration 20mins, 2016.
First Floor Gallery
John Beattie was invited by the LAB, in collaboration with The ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art (CSIA), National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) to explore the concept of visual commemoration in relation to the history of the 1916 Easter Rising drawing on significant events such as the National Gallery of Ireland’s 1966 exhibition Cuimhneachán 1916: A Commemorative Exhibition of the Irish Rebellion 1916, which marked the Golden Jubilee of the Rising, as a source of critical analysis. PERFORMING NGI.988, the resulting exhibition, features an ambitious new work developed over the past year.
Over the last twelve months, the National Gallery of Ireland conservation team has been in the process of a major conservation project on the painting of The Battle of the Boyne, 1693 (NGI.988), by Jan Wyck that has been undertaken at Malahide Castle where the painting has been on loan since 1976. Here, the NGI conservation team has carried out a full-scale treatment of Wyck’s painting in situ in the Great Hall of Malahide Castle, giving visitors to the castle the opportunity to observe conservation activities that would normally take place behind the scenes in the Gallery. The Battle of the Boyne painting was last exhibited in the NGI in 1966 as part of the Cuimhneachán 1916 exhibition. On completion of the conservation process, the painting will be transported back to the NGI once again, where it will be included in the forthcoming exhibition Creating History: Stories of Ireland in Art in 2016.
Critically exploring themes on interpretation and the recontextualisation of historical, social and political visual narratives, Beattie observes the role of the artist in response to the staged setting of the conservation scene, and The Battle of The Boyne painting, NGI.988. Through the re-representation of The Battle of The Boyne painting, and its journey towards the forthcoming exhibition at the NGI, Beattie looks at the performative act of the reinterpretation of visual material and culture, through mnemonic devices in commemoration.
PERFORMING NGI.988 consists of 35mm color slide film photographs, played through three 35mm slide projectors as one moving image film. Scenes from the conservation project of The Battle of The Boyne painting at Malahide Castle are featured with close-up images of material researched from the NGI Collections, photographed at the CSIA. Beattie selected and photographed items such as: Cuimhneachán 1916, exhibition catalogue, 1966; Jack B.Yeats sketch book no.185, 1916; and the National Gallery Minutes book. The sketch - books of Jack B. Yeats, reveal sketches drawn from the artist’s point of view as he navigates through the streets of Dublin, showing the aftermath and destruction of the city in1916. The NGI Minutes book takes account of institutional and arts administrative matters. Minutes noted throughout the year 1916, record activities taking place on the streets of Dublin on the day of the meetings, such as the damage to the Royal Hibernian Academy building and loose of valuable artwork, and illustrates how everyday business and normalities continued alongside the Rising and Rebellion of 1916. These images where compiled into a projected visual narrative, where each image simultaneously marks a separation with the past event and a connection to it (Carvell, Justin, Making 1916: Material and Visual Culture of the Easter Rising, Godson, Lisa, and Joanna Brück, eds. Liverpool University Press, 2015).
Born in 1980, John Beattie is originally from Co.Donegal and currently lives and works in Dublin. He has been artist in residence at Fire Station Artists' Studio, Dublin, 2006-2009; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 2010; Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, 2011; and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 2011. He has exhibited nationally and internationally with recent selected exhibitions including: ‘Gourin Film Festival’, cinema Gourin, France, 2015; ‘Hennessy Portrait Prize’, The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 2014; ‘A Line of Inquiry’, Fort Dunree, solo show, Co.Donegal, 2014; ‘Kerry Film Festival’, Kerry, 2014; ’An Artist, The Studio, and all the rest’, solo show, The Royal Hibernian Academy, curated by Patrick Murphy, Dublin, 2012; ‘Long Drawn Out’, Catalyst Arts Gallery, Belfast, 2013; ‘The Artist Studio Series’, The Process Room, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2011; ‘The Artist Studio Series (If The Art…)', The Return Gallery, Goethe Institute, Dublin, 2010; ‘Fragile’, Le Carre Bonnat, Musee Bonnat, France, 2009.
Awards include: Arts Council Bursary Award, 2015; Arts Council Travel & Training Bursary 2015, Arts Council Projects Award, 2012; Arts Council Visual Artist Bursary, 2006, 2007, 2010; Donegal County Council Artist Bursary, 2005, 2006, 2013; Open EV+A Award, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2005; Arts Humanities Research Board, 2003-2005.
This year John Beattie was artist in residence at apexart New York. Apexart's New York City Fellowship program is focused on cultural exchange and new experiences, providing an intense, explorative journey into New York. The awarded Fellowship was nominated by Gavin Murphy, Pallas Projects Director, Dublin. The Fellowship was supported by The Arts Council Travel & Training Bursary 2015.
This exhibition was made possible through the generosity and support from individuals, organisations, and institutions, such as: Dublin City Council Commemorations Programme, Donal Maguire and Kathryn Milligan, ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Sheena Barrett, the LAB Gallery, Dublin, supported by Dublin City Council; Simone Mancini, Head of Conservation, NGI; Pearl O’Sullivan, Corrie Tubman, conservation department, NGI; Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin; Patrick Murphy, The Royal Hibernian Academy; Malahide Castle; Shannon Hertitage, IVARO, Lisa Godson, Lisa Moran, Ronan McCrea, Jonathan Sammon, Kevin Hughes, Sean Beattie, David Joyce, Outside Publishing; Colin Browne, Film Equipment Limited Hire; and The Arts Council, Ireland.
A collaboration between John Beattie, Andrew Beccone of the Reanimation Library New York & the ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art, National Gallery of Ireland.
Image by Peter Varga
GROUND FLOOR – CUBE SPACE – THE LAB
In April 2015, John Beattie was based in New York as an Apexart Fellow, an artist residency programme, which invites individuals to spend time exploring New York through Apexart’s alternative one-month intensive program. During the Fellowship, Beattie was introduced to the Reanimation Library, where he first met with its founder, Andrew Beccone. In September 2015, curator Sheena Barrett, Dublin City Gallery the LAB, commissioned Beattie to create new work for the Dublin City Council 2016 Exhibition Programme. Beattie was invited to explore the concept of visual commemoration in relation to the history of the 1916 Easter Rising drawing on significant events such as the National Gallery of Ireland’s 1966 exhibition Cuimhneachán 1916, which marked the Golden Jubilee of the Rising, as a source of critical analysis. Beattie’s work for this project has been produced with the assistance of Donal Maguire, ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art (CSIA) at the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI).
During the production of the work for this exhibition, Beattie approached Andrew Beccone, with a proposal to develop a method of collaboration between the Reanimation Library, New York, and the CSIA, Dublin. Together, Beattie and Beccone developed a framework with which to collaborate and generate ideas equally. Through a process of conversation with Maguire at the CSIA, Beattie researched material and selected four unique items from the National Gallery’s collection. These items: one book, two loose pages from an unpublished play, and a sketch, are all by the artist William Orpen and relate to themes of cultural identity, social and political visual narratives, and the role of the artist. Beattie photographed the items on location in the CSIA reading room and then sent the photographs to Beccone at the Reanimation Library. Through a further process of conversation with the artist, Beccone then selected four items from his library with which he formed personal and indirect connections with the items from Dublin. Beccone sent these items (four books) to Dublin to be incorporated into an artwork alongside the photographs that had been made in the CSIA.
Taking into consideration questions of access, ownership, authorship, and representation, Beattie & Beccone discussed aesthetic, practical, and functional principles around the presentation and display of the items as an artwork. A primary concern for Beccone was that the items could be handled and used by visitors to the gallery - the display functioning as would a public library resource. Beattie, on the other hand, sought to maintain the more formal principles and structure of the display. In this respect, his juxtaposition of these disparate objects aimed to stimulate the production of new narratives that could extend or even overwrite the existing historical, social, and political histories associated with them.
For further information on this collaboration, and the items on display, please refer to the collaboration manual on display, produced by Beattie & Beccone, 2016.
The Reanimation Library, an independent presence library, is both an artist project and a functioning research library with an emphasis on visual information. The books in the collection, simultaneously prosaic and peculiar, are relics of the rapidly receding 20th century. Chosen primarily for the images that they contain, they have been culled from thrift stores, rummage sales, flea markets, municipal dumps, library sales, give-away piles, and used bookstores. The library has been exhibited widely at venues including Vox Populi (Philadelphia), SPACE (London), High Desert Test Sites (Joshua Tree), Talcual (Mexico City), 98weeks (Beirut), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Queens Museum (New York), and Kunsthalle Osnabrück (Germany).
1. PERFORMING NGI.988, 35mm color slide projection film © John Beattie, 2016. (Prime Image - top of page)
Info: Image from The Battle of The Boyne Conservation Project NGI, at Malahide Castle.
2. PERFORMING NGI.988, 35mm color slide projection film, 2016, John Beattie © Estate of Jack B.Yeats, DACS London/IVARO Dublin, 2015.
Info: Image of Jack B.Yeats sketch book from 1916, sketch book no.185
3. PERFORMING NGI.988, 35mm color slide projection film, 2016, John Beattie © Estateof Jack B.Yeats, DACS London/IVARO Dublin, 2015.
Info: Image of Jack B.Yeats sketch book from 1916, sketch book no.185 , image of O’Connell street in 1916.
4. PERFORMING NGI.988, 35mm color slide projection film © John Beattie, 2016.
Info: The National Gallery meeting minutes book page from June 1916 describing the NGI’s sympathies towards the RHA of the lose of artwork and damage to the building.