Artists' Takeover: Asbestos

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Image: Pass Freely, 40/41 O'Connell St by Asbestos
46 days before I was born a car bomb exploded on Lincoln Place, Dublin; five minutes before my mother walked past the car. I’ve always imagined what would have happened if she’d decided to pick up a package and been there five minutes later. This event has been a source of creative speculation in my work, making me think about my existence and how it manifests itself. What it is to be alive and how my ‘self’ is defined by my experiences and interactions.
Years later I discovered the blackboards that Joseph Beuys had created in his talk in the Hugh Lane Gallery in September 1974, only 3 months after I was born. Beuys spoke about the bombings, and he saw these talks as offering hope in a time of despair. I drew inspiration from these blackboards when I created the mural to accompany the Beuys show in the Hugh Lane in July. (Joseph Beuys: From the Secret Block to ROSC 14th July – 31st October 2021). It was an honour to travel deep beneath the gallery with Barbara Dawson to see the blackboards in storage before the show. Seeing the storage racks roll out and looking at the raw energy of Beuys’ marks was a moment I’ll never forget.

Image: Blackboards by Joseph Beuys, Hugh Lane Gallery collection in storage


These Indiscriminate marks are akin to the work of Stephen Burke . He takes the ‘visual waste’ that surrounds us in the city and uses it to form his own painterly language. These marks could be the random shapes of paint that cover graffiti or the spray lines on roads used to show where water and electricity lines are. These marks are not created with creative intent, but the subconscious act of making them gives them a rawness that abstract artists are forever chasing. At present, he’s doing a residency with and has a show opening there in July.
Stephen will be doing a talk in the Hugh Lane as part of the ‘Outside the Walls talk series on Thursday 7 October @1pm