June 9, 2014 - Dublin Castle - These Immovable Walls: Performing Power
June 9, 2014

These Immovable Walls: Performing Power

Pauline Cummins, “The Spy at the Gate,” 2014. Performance. Photo by Fiona Morgan. Courtesy of the artist.

These Immovable Walls: Performing Power at Dublin Castle
11–12 July 2014, 10am–6pm

Dublin Castle
Dame Street
Dublin 2


This exhibition of live performance presents the work of Carey Young, Kateřina Šedá, Sandra Johnston, Maurice O’Connell, Philip Napier, Pauline Cummins and Dominic Thorpe. The show focuses on the theme of power and its relationship to performance. Dublin Castle has been the seat of power in the city for much of its 800-year history. In partnering with Office of Public Works, this exhibition of newly commissioned performances will for the first time interrogate Dublin Castle as a public space. Engaging directly with the castle’s current function as a heritage site, which houses government departments and its at times controversial history. This show will consider the aesthetics and architecture of power as well as notions of legitimacy, force, coercion and voicelessness.

The exhibition will consist of performances that range from short pieces to longer durational works over both days. Carey Young’s* new performance involves the reading of a will—an event familiar from cinema or TV soap operas, but which has no basis in reality. Young’s will takes an experimental and playful approach to notions of ownership, legacy, economy and the circulation of objects. Kateřina Šedá will engage the temporal community of tourists to Dublin Castle in a collaborative performance, through her peculiar and provocative activities, she will endeavour to awaken permanent changes in their behaviour. In 1984 Margaret Thatcher insisted on being housed in Dublin Castle during a visit to Ireland. Sandra Johnston responds to this considering Thatcher’s infamous quote “We must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend” in the context of the castle’s statue of Justice, which problematically turns her back on the people of Dublin. Maurice O’Connell will dissolve the distance between art and life as he takes up a role on Dublin Castle’s security team. His idiosyncratic practice involves fully qualifying in a variety of occupations, each a position of power, control, responsibility or trust in society. He will mischievously deconstruct the verbal and nonverbal language of performing power within the everyday. Philip Napier’s work will explore cultural identity the strange ‘pantomime’ of the performance of the State, through a sculptural intervention on the castle’s grounds. Pauline Cummins looks at the extravagant consumption by the aristocracy in Ireland in the 18th century. It focuses on Emily, Duchess of Leinster and the mother of Lord Edward Fitzgerald one of the leaders of the 1798 rebellion. Cummins’ work meditates on the birth of a revolutionary from inside the body of the aristocracy. Dominic Thorpe will work in what was formerly the Children’s Courts in Dublin Castle. His work will make connections between past institutional abuses that were administered in the former courts and abuses that continue to happen in our time; both enabled by cultures of silence in Ireland.

A seminar will also take place on the 11th of July that will look at the crossover between research into the performance of power in art and society.

These Immovable Walls: Performing Power at Dublin Castle is curated by Michelle Browne, with assistant curator Ciara McKeon, and is produced with the support of The Arts Council of Ireland and The OPW.

Press information:
For additional information and press images, contact T +353861078449 / or through www.michellebrowne.net

*Daniel Monk, Birkbeck University School of Law, is an advisor to Carey Young on this project.

These Immovable Walls: Performing Power at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
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