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From the Hugh Lane Gallery Exhibition Archive 2012 #flashbackfriday returns to: Sleepwalkers: Clodagh Emoe – The Closing of Mystical Anarchism
In 2012 the ‘Sleepwalkers’ programme at the Hugh Lane Gallery was our sequel to ‘The Golden Bough’ series of exhibitions. Conducted over two years, ‘Sleepwalkers’ was developed to create a new testing ground of investigational programming that questioned new forms of 'exhibition making': ‘What is the function of a museum?How close, or how distant, can Art and Life become within the context of the art museum, and what is the artist’s role in today’s society?’
Over a six month period Gallery 8 was set aside and opened to the public as it operated as a meeting hub for six invited artists to develop and synthesise their overlapping fields of knowledge into a programme of site specific installations that were exhibited between 2012 and 2013. The artists and curators began by considering whether collective memory is reflected by the museum or if it is the museum that constructs a visual narrative of identity that is internalised?
The artists were: Clodagh Emoe, Lee Welch, Sean Lynch, Linda Quinlan, Jim Ricks and Gavin Murphy.
‘Mystical Anarchism’ was the title for an ongoing project by Clodagh Emoe that developed from an initial collaboration between the artist and the English philosopher Simon Critchley in 2009. The process began with an unauthorized midnight lecture on 2 August 2009 in the monastic valley of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. Over one hundred people gathered together on a custom-made mat (measuring 17 x 7 metres) to hear Critchley's invocation of the ‘Movement of the Free Spirit’ in his lecture focusing on the writings of the 14th century mystic Marguerite Porete. Porete was a French-speaking mystic and the author of ‘The Mirror of Simple Souls’, a work of Christian mysticism dealing with the workings of agape (a divine form of love). She was burnt at the stake for heresy in Paris in 1310 after a lengthy trial, refusing to remove her book from circulation or recant her views. The project also included the screening of a film made in collaboration with Thomas McGraw Lewis and a conversation and “last supper” event hosted in collaboration with writer Edia Connole.
In Gallery 8, ‘The Closing of Mystical Anarchism’, was the final part of the artist’s project and developed as an installation presented to the public as a space for reflection in keeping with the Sleepwalker theme. The mat from the Glendalough lecture was situated in the gallery where a slight trace of the scent of the forest lingered on the mat, this served as the embedded point of connection between the event and the museum. The artist altered the atmospheric conditions using rich sultry colours with the gallery lights dimmed, which created a threshold between different temporalities. The film documenting Critchley’s lecture was also screened in an adjacent space.
Irish artist Clodagh Emoe’s research focuses on the relationship between art and philosophy in contemporary art and asks; how might art invite thought and what is the nature of this thought? Through staging and particular methods of assembly her work seeks to create temporalities that are “other” to the quotidian. These works call people together to specific locations at specific times, for example, a forest at midnight, a flat due for demolition in Dublin’s city centre at dusk and the National Gallery of Ireland during closing hours. Emoe has devised and developed a multi-layered project in collaboration with asylum seekers in Ireland. ‘The Plurality of Existence in the Infinite Amount of Space and Time’ (2016) and ‘Crocosmia ×’ (2018). These projects have resulted in site-specific audio artworks in Dublin, Cork, Carlow and Galway, two public artworks in IMMA and TU Dublin campus, Grangegorman and an anthology of poetry.
For further information please visit https://www.hughlane.ie/past/700-sleepwalkers-clodagh-emoe and http://www.clodaghemoe.com/.
The ‘Sleepwalkers’ publication published by Ridinghouse was created by the participating artists and accompanied with essays by Chantal Mouffe, Simon Critchley and other leading curators and cultural theorists. These texts explore such vital questions as ‘what is an exhibition?’ and ‘how does the form of an exhibition come into being?’ https://www.hughlane.ie/exhibitions-publications/1196-sleepwalkers-publication