Dublin Gallery Weekend
              Ben Eastham
              Dublin is a dirty and disjointed city, a tangle of loosely connected neighborhoods best navigated on foot. On arrival my smartphone gave up the ghost, transforming the schedule of Dublin Gallery Weekend—a semi-coordinated program of exhibition openings, performances, and events—into a Situationist strategy. Deprived of online mapping services, I was forced to plot unusual paths between galleries across the city using a frayed, decade-old mental map. The resulting three-day drift along canal towpaths, through post-industrial edgelands, and down streets named for poets made it impossible to disentangle the experience of art from the emotional disorientation of travelling through the city hosting it. Douglas Hyde Gallery is located at the bottom of Nassau Street, where students from Trinity College mingle with bookish tourists and frazzled shoppers. Abbas Akhavan’s “variations on a garden” seems initially to offer an oasis from the Black Friday bustle, the silence in the space interrupted only by the meditative drip of water into a shallow pool. That impression of sanctuary is reinforced, and then shattered, by an arrangement of bronze leaves, palm fronds, and flower stems (Study for a Monument, 2013-2016) arranged on the floor of the downstairs gallery. From the balcony, the sculptural installation resembles a set …

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