Seán O Sullivan is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the politics and preservation of localities. He has curated projects and written critical texts dealing with community, ecology and the bonds between people and places. He holds an MA and a BA in Visual Arts Practices from IADT, Dún Laoghaire. He is a former chair of Black Church Print Studio, Dublin. He is Visual Arts Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland / An Comhairle Ealaíon.
This page: A short review of Aleana Egan’s exhibition Day Wears for Paper Visual Art Journal’s series of tickets.
Aleana Egan’s Day Wears is a sequence of near silent forms spaciously arranged around the Douglas Hyde Gallery like a family of demure satellites. The forms impersonate rudimentary shapes: a plaster block has its corners rounded down to take the shape of a fat creased pill. A set of folded linens rests alongside a cubic wireframe. The wall hosts various loosely structured assemblies made from steel rods, blocks, and poles. These shy away from holding strictly geometric shapes, instead they hint at forms that are part known, but which still seem odd. Egan’s juxtapositions are carefully quizzical – the peculiar covalence between each object is more provoking than secretive, and yet it somehow substantiates their anima.
I kept returning to one work, Rise and Fall, an oily looking loop hanging from the wall. The loop is thick and deep, and is suspended on two prongs in a big rectangular coil that encircles the space around nothing. Its core is mysteriously tensile. There are minuscule white nodules evident at each of its sinuous twists, and they are caught floating amongst a coat of immersive, dark blue: the kind of shadowy tincture that the sea takes while deep in the night.
It would be too forward to declare what the coil means; its relationship to meaning is deliberately attenuated. It doesn’t aim to mean, or perhaps I am a stranger in its strange land, aware that the native language is rich, but inept to its fluency with sign and gesture – an un-speaker. To compound that supposition: not only do words fail my ascription of meaning; I cannot even say what this object is. It could find life as a painting, or a sculpture. It looks like neither. I prefer imagining it as a fine anthropological relic, a rotund mammalian belt, with Egan as the digger responsible for its discovery.
It hangs there as a circuit, electrical and literal. It opens up a space, and I duly topple headlong into the boundless.