In View is an exhibition that establishes a context from which to explore the tensions and dialogues concerned with the physical act of looking. The gaze holds multiple interpretations, such as the voyeuristic, scopophilic, erotic; and is as much dependant upon the viewer, as that which is being viewed. Each artist challenges us to consider our role as a viewer of the works on display, calling into question our gender, the gender of the artist, and our preconceived understanding of the subject, therefore highlighting the tensions that exist within the topic of the gaze.
In Vito Acconci’s video work Pryings (1971), his violent attempts to force open the eyes of his subject are difficult to watch, as is the challenging gaze of Laura O’Connor in her video work Dull, Limp, Lifeless (2010). Like O’Connor, Katherine Nolan encourages the viewer to watch her, and yet reprimands them for doing so. Her work, You Are a Very Naughty Boy! (2009), obscures our view of her at intervals, as if in punishment for gazing upon her scantily dressed body. The photographic works of Shaleen Temple take a slightly different approach, commenting on the level of control held by the gaze of the subject, the artist, and ourselves, the viewer. The exhibition also includes work from Phil Collins, Common Culture, Sara Greavu, Magaret Harrison, Noemi Lakmaier, ORLAN, and Aine Phillips.
Works in the Exhibition:
1. Vito Acconci – Pryings, Video, 17mins, 1971
Pryings consists of the artist forcefully trying to open the eyes of a woman. His persistence and violence challenges the viewer to continue watching, although helpless to intervene.
2. Common Culture – Private Dance, HD Video, Looped Video, 2009
Private Dance consists of a lap dancer repeating her routine ten times, only pausing to replace her bra between performances. What would regularly be a concealed event is filmed here, to be viewed in public, leading to an exploration of the gendered gaze.
3. Laura O’Connor – Dull, Limp, Lifeless, Video Installation, 5mins, 2010
Awkward and discomforting, Dull, Limp, Lifeless sets out to challenge the stereotypical traits of beauty as portrayed by the media.
4. ORLAN – Omnipresence, Video, 40mins, 1993
Omnipresence is a challenging video work of the surgical procedure which ORLAN undergoes as a statement to the question of beauty.
5. Aine Phillips – The Art of Love (war), DVD video projection, 20mins, 2009
The performance, The Art of Love (war) converges the visual language of the human body as a combat zone with visual projections and a spoken text.
6. Shaleen Temple – Grace, Johannesburg, photograph, 2009; Betty, Johannesburg, photograph, 2009
These large format works are confronting to the viewer, allowing them to examine all details within the frame, sometimes revealing small details such as the presence of the white family.
7. Phil Collins – Hero, Single Channel Video, 40mins, 2002
Hero adopts the interview format, with the dialogue being cut and spliced into segments and played in reverse order, thus moving from a drunken interviewee, to a sober, articulate journalist discussing everything from 9/11 to US foreign policy.
8. Sara Greavu – Mask 1, Mask 2, Mask 3, photographic print, 2010
Mask 1, Mask 2 and Mask 3. This new series of work continues the artist’s exploration of Derry’s Halloween carnival, this time from behind the mask.
9. Margaret Harrison – Drawings and Paintings from c1971 – 2010
He’s Only a Bunny Boy But He’s Quite Nice Really
Heroes (1) What’s That Long Red Limp Wrinkly Thing You’re Pulling On
Olympia: Model Role (Jennifer Lopez/ Marlene Dietrich ’Frenchie’)
Allan Jones and the P.T.A (Dolly Parton/Allan Jones ‘Table’ Sculpture)
2 Princeses, 2 Hands (Diego Velazquez painting/ David Walliams & Batman)
Dolly Parton Mel Ramos.
Print Picasso & young woman.
These early works explore notions of the human body as an object of sexuality, consumption, and gaze.
10. Noëmi Lakmaier – We/ Them/ Other, Mixed Media, 2010
We/Them/Other investigates the presence of the viewer as voyeur and how this presence can act as a catalyst, creating tensions between the observer and the objects of the gaze.
11. Katherine Nolan – Silver Screen Shimmy, Digital Video, 6min45sec, 2009; You Are a Very Naughty Boy! Digital Video, 3min17sec, 2007.
Both works are concerned with the erotic female body as spectacle, in particular provoking questions around narcissism and exhibitionism as seemingly incongruous with critical agency.
Artists Short Biogs:
Aine Phillips makes performance and video art in Ireland and internationally. She is involved in artist led projects and curates live art events in Ireland. Her work aims to link autobiographic themes, actions and imageswith wider social and political realities.
Common Culture is a collaborative artists’ group consisting of David Campbell, Mark Durden and Ian Brown. They have had solo shows in New York, Athens, Porto, London, Manchester, Belfast and Derry and have participated in Manifesta 8, 2010, the 6th Shanghai Biennale 2006, and Shopping, The Tate Liverpool, 2002.
Katherine Nolan is a video and performance artist, currently completing a practice-led PhD entitled Seducing the Machine: Narcissism and Performance in Contemporary Feminist Practice. Her work is concerned with the erotic female body as spectacle, in particular provoking questions around narcissism and exhibitionism as seemingly incongruous with critical agency
Laura O’Connor is currently in the 2nd year of a Masters in Fine Art in the University of Ulster, and has shown work, sculptural & media based, in group shows throughout Ireland. As well as curating exhibitions and most recently completeing a public art commission, Dancing at the Crossroads Project, for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Cavan.
Margaret Harrison studied at the Carlisle College of Art, England (1957-61), Royal Academy Schools, London (1961-64), and the Academy of Art in Perugia, Italy (1965). In 1970, she was one of the founders of the first London Women’s Liberation Art Group. Harrison developed artist during the years of pop, minimal and conceptual work
Noëmi Lakmaier has exhibited widely in the UK andinternationally. She was artist in residence at Camden Arts Centre, London in 2008 and at the Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin from 2008 -2009. Lakmaier recently showed her piece We / Them / Other as part of Belfast Festival at Queens.
ORLAN (b.1947) lives and works between Paris, New York and Los Angeles. ORLAN is a permanent teacher at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy. She explores different techniques such as photography, video, sculpture, installation, performance, biotechnologies in her work.
Phil Collins (b.1970) investigates the perils of representation and the emotional core of such seemingly transparent media as video and photography. Instinctively distrustful of the camera and its effects, yet responsive to its potential as an instigator of relationships, his works often revolve around a convocation of individuals.
Sara Greavu is an artist and curator who lives and works in Derry. She received her MFA from University of Ulster in 2006 and is currently completing a practice based PhD at U. U. Her research looks at the Halloween carnival in Derry in its postcolonial context with a particular interest in ‘ethnic drag’, gender, and postcolonial temporalities.
Shaleen Temple (b.1987) moved to Northern Ireland, from South Africa, at the age of thirteen with her mother and siblings. She received a BA (Hons) in Photography from the University of Ulster in 2010, and through her work explores themes surrounding South African lifestyle
Vito Acconci (b.1940) started to perform between 1969-1974, what he would otherwise have written and developed over 200 conceptually structured and radical body-related pieces that were extremely simple in formal terms, but highly intricate psychologically.