January 19, 2015 - Project Arts Centre - Garrett Phelan
January 19, 2015

Garrett Phelan

Garrett Phelan, Ethereal Assemblage – MD-4000 VINTAGE MICROPHONE and Undiscovered Celtic Gold 2500BC A VOODOO FREE PHENOMENON, 2014.

Garrett Phelan

30 January–9 April 2015 

Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street
Temple Bar
Hours: Monday–Saturday 11am–8pm
Free admission


In a newly commissioned solo exhibition for Project Arts Centre, Garrett Phelan explores the power and influence that cultural traditions and artefacts have on the contemporary psyche. Through the recollection of his experience of witnessing the winter solstice at Newgrange—an extraordinary Neolithic site in Ireland—and numerous visits to ancient sites throughout his life and travels, he questions the power such antiquated relics hold over us today. 

The exhibition comprises two new video works and sculpture. The first video work is divided between a storytelling monologue by the artist, and a dramatically filmed grouping of ambiguous gold objects. The second piece is a throbbing animation, both hand drawn and computer animated, flicking through many of Phelan’s most emblematic images.

Phelan’s visiting and imagining of ancient monuments plays on a deeper exploration of personal politics, the desire to decipher the world, the limits of our understanding. With this work he re-tunes us into the frequency of these familiar relics, or in his own words, “the absolute present tense.” 

Phelan is asking, chanting, inscribing, even demanding, can we ever really be free from inherited social practices? From the conditions and belief systems that shape and accompany us through our formative years and thereafter? Can we be free from institutions? Free from symbols? Free from cause? Free from history? It is an agonised position and these are agonised questions. But they are questions asked around the proximity of Neolithic stones, of enduring objects which in Garrett Phelan’s way of thinking may have achieved this idea of freedom. For they are things we know in part only.

A text about the work written by Project Arts Centre’s Curator of Visual Arts, Tessa Giblin can be found here.

Garrett Phelan (born 1965 in Dublin) has developed a distinctive practice through ambitious, site-specific projects that include drawing, independent FM radio broadcasts, sculptural installations, photography, animation and text ephemera. Recent solo exhibitions include NEW FAITH LOVE SONG at IMMA, Dublin 2012; ELECTROMAGNETIC PHENOMENON at Context Gallery, Derry 2011; Between two ITs, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, 2010; and group exhibitions at EVA International, Limerick, 2014; Palais des Beaus-Arts de Bruxelle, 2013; AIR de Lyon, Buenos Aires, 2012; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2012; 11th Biennale de Lyon, 2011.

Project Arts Centre is Ireland’s leading centre for the development and presentation of contemporary art across all forms of the performing and visual arts, in the heart of Dublin, and 2016 will mark its 50th anniversary. In addition to forthcoming exhibitions by David Claerbout and Gretchen Bender, in 2015 we are also delighted to present A Breathcrystal, curated by Mihnea Mircan, and Riddle of the Burial Grounds which expands across all of the building’s gallery and theatre spaces, curated by Tessa Giblin. Throughout the year, our visual arts programme will be interrupted with lectures by Sarah Pierce, and our nationwide tour of Eva Kot’atková & Dominik Lang’s exhibition Wasteland will begin at Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray in February.

A VOODOO FREE PHENOMENON has been commissioned and produced by Project Arts Centre, and is generously supported by a Project Award from the Arts Council. 

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

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