A View From Napoleon’s Nose

Kao Yuan Arts Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

3 March until 3 April 2010

© Victor Sloan

This exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists with alternative views. Some of whom are well established having shown nationally and internationally for over 25 years, others are quickly making names for themselves and several have already representedNorthern Ireland, for example, at the Venice Biennale and the Sao Paulo Biennale. Others are young artists at the cutting edge of contemporary practice beginning to make names for themselves.

Political violence in Northern Ireland forms part of both Lisa Byrne’s and Victor Sloan’s work. Lisa uses film and photography to explore the trauma experienced by victims of sectarian violence. She also looks at the issues surrounding one’s life partner and growing old alone. For over 25 years Sloan has been returning to imagery from the ‘troubles’ in his work. He is currently working on a new body of work called 'Stop’ that is based on photographs from a tour bus trip around Belfast’s troubled past.

The specific context of Northern Ireland is also used by Ian Charlesworth who uses photography to re-work the documentary portrait. Ian looks at how Belfast’s urban youth are portrayed in both the media and social documentary. Peter Richards also uses photography but his primary concern is the process of constructing representations of existing representations. To do this he often uses the durational aspect of early photographic techniques.

Susan MacWilliam uses photography, video and instillations to explore the paranormal, the supernatural and perceptual phenomena. In Taiwan she will show a work based on Dermo Optics that is often referred to as eyeless sight or fingertip vision.

Video work and performances have formed part of Phil Hession’s work. Phil will be working with three local people in Taiwan to produce an original piece of work. Allan Hughes who explores the psychological relationships to the recorded voice also uses sound. He focuses on the role of synchronisation and the meaning between image and sound.

The interrelationship of art and politics in everyday life is Justin McKeown’s primary interest. His work for this exhibition will be based on the projected childbirths for Taiwan in 2010. Politics, power and cultural identity are issues explored by Philip Napier. Philip often uses movement and sound in his work. Clodagh Lavelle is interested in fleeting intimacy, curious moments and the unexpectedness of human behaviour. Her work in Taiwan will invite the viewers to engage with the piece and at times consequently interact with others.

The artists in this exhibition have all, in the past, demonstrated an interest to have their work seen in other cultures. The exhibition does not claim to represent some historical tradition. What is important is that the work from one part of the world travels to another and through the interaction of artist and audience new cultural understandings and respect will develop.

Extract from A View from Napoleon’s Nose by Brian Kennedy, exhibition curator.

Culture Ireland

Kao Yuan Arts Centre