April 5, 2016 - Project Arts Centre - Mark O'Kelly: Empireland
April 5, 2016

Project Arts Centre

Mark O’Kelly, Empireland, 2016. Front: oil on oil primed metal plates, 280cm x 900cm. Reverse: Powder-coated metal plates, metal rail and bracket assemblage system installed on motorway sign scaffold.

Mark O'Kelly
Empireland
March 31–May 28, 2016

Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin
Ireland

www.projectartscentre.ie
Twitter / Facebook / #Empireland / #ProjectArts

With images, icons, symbols and figures relating to Ireland’s religious, medicinal, corporeal and cultural histories, Mark O’Kelly’s monumental history painting is commissioned in the centenary year of Ireland’s Easter Rising of 1916, which coincides with Project Arts Centre’s 50th year: milestones to provoke much reflection on democracy, culture, trade and the individual body. The painting appropriates images of architecture, artworks and visual communication, including: Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace; Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s "The Allegory of Good and Bad Government;" logos of Deutsche Bank, Panadol, Mr Tayto, Alpha Romeo; abstracted line drawings evolved from voting booths; plans and maps of Charles de Gaulle airport. Looming large over it all is an image of the Dunnes Stores (supermarket) strikers, who in 1983 refused to handle South African goods in solidarity with the anti-apartheid movement. The original photograph marked the moment where their protest garnered international press attention, escalating and elevating the workers’ strike into an international diplomatic issue, and forcing the Irish government to take action. Painted on the structure of a motorway gantry sign, the depicted engines of culture and democracy churn up a complex and layered image—an abstract roadmap of Ireland’s evolution born of rebellion.

Based in Dublin, Mark O'Kelly is an artist who has exhibited widely throughout Ireland, including the recent exhibitions Conversations, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2015; Agitationism, EVA International, 2014; and Modern Families, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2013. Empireland is newly commissioned by Project Arts Centre, made possible by the generous support of a Project Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and curated by Tessa Giblin.

Please click here to view images of the work installed, and read an essay about Empireland by Isobel Harbison.

Project Arts Centre is Ireland's multi-disciplinary arts centre in the heart of Dublin, presenting artists across all forms of the performing and visual arts. Riddle of the Burial Grounds, a group exhibition originating at Project Arts centre is currently showing at Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, Belgium until July 17, 2016.

Admission to the visual arts at Project Arts Centre is always free.

Project Arts Centre is core funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

For media information, interviews and pictures, contact:
Kate O'Sullivan, PR & Communications Officer, Project Arts Centre

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