Gallery 1

February 17 - April 5, 2017


Endlessly curious and with a detached sense of humour, Sean Lynch’s videos and installations bring attention to overlooked, misunderstood, farcical or fabricated chronicles and narratives. For this exhibition, Lynch presents two new bodies of work, A Walk Through Time and What Is An Apparatus?, which delve into how we are implicated in the construction, and even contamination, of history and culture.

A Walk Through Time comprises a series of photographs of life-size dioramas seen in The Burren Centre in Kilfenora, built by artist and one-time stadium rock set designer Keith Payne in 2001 as part of the region’s tourism infrastructure. The chronological display illustrates dramatic moments in the development of the local landscape from its primordial origins and medieval period. Lynch’s photographs, with their casual framing and disregard of sophistication, emphasise the surreal slapstick of Payne’s display, while coming to terms with the constant reinvention and retelling of history. The photographs are accompanied by the Tau Cross of Kilnaboy, a national monument of great cultural significance, which has been temporarily relocated to the Douglas Hyde Gallery for the duration of the show. The simple limestone cross is adorned with two carved heads facing upwards to the heavens. Bearing a resemblance to depictions of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, endings and transitions, the origins and symbolism of the cross have been subject to dispute for centuries.

The video work What Is An Apparatus? was made during the artist’s travels around North America and Europe last year. Each scene in the video, much like those in the aforementioned dioramas, is an apparatus; defined in the writings of Giorgio Agamben as a complex structure of a particular organisation or system. A series of anecdotes, or what Lynch refers to as ‘fables’, are depicted through the filming of specific episodes taking place in locations ranging from a nuclear submarine to a supermarket, and from Yale University to a scrapyard. Glimpses of narrative are provided in the scripted voiceover performed by Lynch’s frequent collaborator, Gina Moxley. Through close engagement with the local and the particular, everyday values and concerns are confronted, repositioned and, ultimately, re-evaluated.

An eighty-page publication with an essay by Michael Hill, writings by Sean Lynch, and designed by Wayne Daly, is available.

Sean Lynch represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015. In addition, he has recently held solo exhibitions at The Rose Art Museum, Boston, Modern Art Oxford and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, amongst others. Alongside Michele Horrigan, he works at Askeaton Contemporary Arts in County Limerick.

The Douglas Hyde Gallery would like to thank Michèle O’Dea, the staff of the Office of Public Works and National Monuments Service for supporting us in our request to temporarily relocate the Tau Cross of Kilnaboy. Sean Lynch was recently 2016 Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, enabling the development of this exhibition.

The exhibition and the accompanying publication would not have been possible without the commitment and enthusiasm of Sean Lynch, to whom we extend our thanks and appreciation.

Click here to purchase the accompanying publication.

Artist's Talk

Sean Lynch will give a talk at the X-PO in Kilnaboy, County Clare on Thursday, February 23, at 8.30pm.