September 4, 2006 - SMART Project Space - Jaki Irvine
September 4, 2006

Jaki Irvine

Jaki Irvine, The Silver Bridge (dvd still)

Jaki Irvine
The Silver Bridge
Exhibition: Sept. 13 Oct. 14, 2006

Opening: September 9, 2006, 21.00hrs

SMART Project Space, Amsterdam
Arie Biemondstraat 105-113
NL-1054 PD Amsterdam

phone: 31 20 42 75951
fax 31 20 247 59 53

Opening hours:
Wed Sat, 12:00-18:00 hrs

The Silver Bridge is an eight channel video installation that pulls together some of Jaki Irvines most powerfully consistent propositions. Filmed in part in Dublin Zoo, The Silver Bridge picks a path through oblique narrative, seductive imagery and a growing awareness of human and animal awkwardness. The story behind The Silver Bridge is characteristically elusive, told with a compelling selection of repeatedly unexpected scenes. From beginning to end, the notion of animism provides an allegorical relationship to that of the human condition. Irvine leads us on an experiential journey without dictating a position, letting the scenes interweave with the logic of our journey through the new exhibition spaces of SMART Project Space.

Starlings are swirling in flocks and oscillating against a blue sky. The small specks of black create a community of form, a single body of communication, riding the currents of air where individuals cluster then disperse as a unified body of flapping wings.

Each film within the eight channels of The Silver Bridge presents another window into the world. The tangible narrative structure uses oblique and at times surreal form to forge connections between scenes, incidents, or the momentary isolation of an image; the blinking of a womans eyes when slowed to the speed of a nature documentary, or wild deer grazing with careless confidence in a forested terrain interrupted by the presence of stark white doors going nowhere, promising nothing. The awkwardness pervading each scene is emblematic of the broader intention of the work; bats, captured in the artificial confines of a zoo terrain crawl across the ground, claws grappling at earth, wings scratching in the undergrowth; the diminishing form of a woman in black crawling along the decayed limbs of an old silver bridge, making slow, uncomfortable progress. This repeated positioning of individual and communal social behaviour through the worlds of animals, birds and humans are the touch-stones for the viewers journey through the work and through Irvines layered and obtuse narrative. As one progresses through the exhibition spaces, the unifying evocation of what it is to return to a place seeps to the surface. By coming home, a self-conscious awareness of exterior perceptions is confronted with an interior knowledge of self, implying that all return is a negotiation with the past – with what has changed and with what apparently remains the same. Like walking through somewhere familiar yet different, one is both at home and a stranger, at ease but also awkward, or estranged.

As the cycle completes, two women hanging bat-like from the silver bridge are locked in an embrace, finding a brief moment of balance somewhere between memory and fantasy before losing it again.

As dusk settles over the luminously glowing old bridge, only one solitary figure remains hanging, sheltered but alone.
Jaki Irvine currently lives and works in Dublin, having spent many years in London and in Italy. Her works are single or multi-screen videos that explore with a melancholic and dreamlike humour the interaction between the natural world and the built environment, fuelled by a fascination with the human condition.

Irvine represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and her works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kerlin Gallery, Tate Britain, Delfina Project Space and in many other venues throughout Europe, Australia and Japan.

The exhibition is supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, Gemeente Amsterdam, BroedplaatsAmsterdam, Stichting Doen, Filmfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Culture Ireland.

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