April 14, 2018 - Philadelphia Contemporary - Jane Irish: Antipodes
April 14, 2018

Philadelphia Contemporary

Jane Irish, Antipodes, 2018. Courtesy of Philadelphia Contemporary.

Jane Irish
Antipodes
April 13–June 3, 2018

Lemon Hill
1 Lemon Hill Drive
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130
United States

philadelphiacontemporary.org
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Jane Irish
Antipodes
April 13–June 3, 2018

Lemon Hill
1 Lemon Hill Drive
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130
United States

philadelphiacontemporary.org
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Philadelphia Contemporary is pleased to announce its latest public art installation, Jane Irish: Antipodes. The exhibition is on view from April 13–June 3.

In this immersive, site-specific installation, Irish will transform the historic Lemon Hill Mansion in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park—the first major art project there in the more than 200-year history of the estate—filling the two-story structure with a floor-to-ceiling installation of paintings and ceramics that provide an all-encompassing journey through the interconnectedness of history, from colonialism on the Indian subcontinent to anti-Vietnam War activism in Philadelphia.

Playing off of the mansion’s layout, which features two oval rooms, one on each floor, Irish embraces the concept of hemispheric opposites, or antipodes, as a framework for dialectical imagery. In vibrant layers, Irish weaves together elements of war and peace, exploitation and colonialism, activism and repression, past and future into a critical examination of an American port city and everything that entails.

The first floor’s oval room will be completely covered in floor-to-ceiling paintings dedicated to the Indian Ocean, which sits directly opposite Philadelphia on the globe. Combining portraits of European explorers and martyred missionaries with Southeast Asian motifs, the paintings will create a layered history of the Indian Ocean as a space of trade and exchange between Southeast Asian nations, and eventually a site of exploitative colonial expeditions.

Above, in the second floor oval room, will be a tribute to Philadelphia antiwar activists, particularly Philadelphia-based members of the VVAW movement (Vietnam Veterans Against the War). Covering the walls in paintings and the ceiling with interlocking canvases, Irish will consider how 20th-Century Philadelphians resisted American involvement in the Vietnam War, positing activism as an oppositional force to the colonial histories she will explore on the first floor. Through these two floors, and across the installation, Irish reveals how pivotal years in our contemporary, local history are inextricably bound to histories from the opposite side of the globe.

Inspired as a teenager by the protest movement against the Vietnam War, Irish began painting opulent baroque interiors, replacing the traditional cherubs and clouds of the ceiling frescos with images of the protestors she’d known. These studio works emphasize the continued relevance of both the movement against the Vietnam War and the violence of colonialism. In Antipodes, Irish’s practice is manifest on a newly grand scale, occupying an actual mansion. The result is an almost overwhelming experience; vibrant colors and intricate brushwork echo the power and immediacy of the forces she’s describing — the pervasiveness of colonial exploitation and its legacies, and the power of individuals to combat it.

Antipodes will run concurrently with an exhibition of new large-scale canvasses and works on paper by Irish, Architectures of Resistance, at Locks Gallery in Philadelphia from April 6–May 25, 2018. A new monograph, Jane Irish: Architectures of Resistance, will be published in May to coincide with the two exhibitions. The 100-page, fully illustrated catalog features an interview between the artist and Nato Thompson, Artistic Director of Philadelphia Contemporary, as well as an essay by scholar Glenn Adamson.

Founded in 2016, Philadelphia Contemporary is dedicated to bringing visual art, performance art, and spoken word to the city of Philadelphia. A nomadic contemporary art organization with ambitions to establish a free standing globally oriented and locally aware museum, Philadelphia Contemporary has pioneered a vibrant and sustainable model based on partnerships and collaborations. Having commenced pop-up programming in October 2016, Philadelphia Contemporary continues to develop an ambitious roster of projects that will be mounted in the coming years, while planning for a permanent home in a new building.

Antipodes is presented in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and The Fairmount Park Conservancy, and kindly supported by the Friends of Lemon Hill.

 

For more information about Philadelphia Contemporary and Antipodes, please visit our website

Press contact
Marcella Zimmermann
Vice President, Cultural Counsel
marcella [​at​] culturalcounsel.com

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