‘The following selection is fairly broad and a lot of the references I’ve included here are texts or media that I have come across over the years while not looking for anything in particular. I love the feeling of stumbling upon a piece of writing, a phrase or an image that sticks with me. These moments don’t happen very often but when they do, I try to carry them with me into the work that I make, even if only in a round-about way.
At the moment, I’m reading a lot of books related to place-writing and most of my selections here tie into this interest in land, site and place in some wide sense. The ones that don’t have either struck me for their precision of language, their sculptural use of words and phrases or their way of thinking about materiality.’
- Marie Farrington
Tim Robinson, who died last week after contracting Covid-19, was a prolific mapper and writer of the Irish landscape. In this essay, taken from Experiments in Reality, he discusses, through four incidents, the nearness of death. ‘Language had left her, like leaves blown off a tree.’
Here, Anne Enright writes about her late father and her attempts to process the grief of his loss and her confusion and dismay at Trump’s election. I find her language so poignant, especially at a time when so many are separated from their parents, and at a time when the government are such a daily presence in our lives.
Here, British artist Helen Marten talks about everyday forms that influence her, such as soup, salad and skins. She has a way of philosophising forms that is sculptural and playful, using what she calls ‘wonky semiotics’ to set chains of associations into play.
I will show you a way
that I have travelled.
If you come
If you come back some day
searching for me
do you see how everything shifts
a little every moment
and becomes less pretentious
and more primitive
(like pictures drawn by children
or early forms of life:
the soul’s alphabet)
you will come to a warm region
it is soft and hazy
but then I will no longer be me,
but the forest.
One of my all-time-favourite exhibitions was Nairy Baghramian at the Hepworth, Wakefield last year. I was blown away by this show, by its sensitivity and Nairy’s deep, intuitive understanding of materiality. Here, she speaks at the Sculpture Centre New York about sculpture as aesthetics and politics.
This is a rich and slippery talk that touches on many interests of mine. Lucy Skaer talks here about drawing as an embodied process and drawings as embodied objects, relating it to language and syntax.
This project stands out to me as a melding of poetics and place. Roni Horn has had a longstanding fascination for Iceland and its elemental qualities. Here, she reads from her publication Weather Reports You.
Flights, Olga Tokarczuk
This is a book about travel and the body. It resists categorisation in that it diverts from the idea of a singular narrative and playfully weaves multiple strands of writing together. I first read this book while on residency in Iceland and it had a huge influence on how I thought about my time in that charged landscape.
The Idea of North, Peter Davidson
I first came across this book during an MA elective in NCAD which looked at divergent ideas of ‘north’ as place of escape, exile, remoteness and melancholy in pop culture, art, literature and philosophical texts. This book has had a huge influence on my thinking about place in my own work and my understanding of the shifting and conditional elements that hold particular places in collective consciousness. It’s a book I often return to.
This online reading group, hosted by Kate Strain and Fiona Hallinan, looks at texts dealing with death, dying and the dead. The first session this week looks at texts related to the ritual of the Irish wake
This is mellow folk music for the self-isolated. I always listen to it while I’m cooking dinner
Hymnal and slightly magical, this song stands out for me from the album (A Different Kind of Human) since seeing Aurora at the Olympia last November
This series can be found on the Second Captains Podcast. David O’Doherty is currently waiting out the coronavirus on Achill Island and his series is really unpredictable. If I’m in the mood to laugh on my own during self-isolation, David is a safe bet!
Highlight from the Hugh Lane Collection
The Visitor, Willie Doherty
Willie Doherty’s work explores the multiplicity of identity, meaning and history. His films imbue the landscapes and sites he depicts with a sense of absence, enigma and concealment. The references to place, memory and landscape in Doherty’s work link in some way to the references I’ve made in this email to how place is negotiated in writing, poetry and art.
Marie has recently exhibited at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Highlanes Gallery and as part of Resort Revelations public art programme for Fingal Arts Office. She is also a practicing post-primary school teacher.