U-Turn

4 - 26 September 2015

The Library Project, 4 Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Curated by Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll

 



EXHIBITING ARTISTS
AOIFE DWYER, MARY A. FITZGERALD, JOHN GRAHAM, ROBERT KELLY, ANJA MAHLER, FIONA MCDONALD, ALISON PILKINGTON.

 

In 1927 Russian poet Daniil Kharms received a copy of Kasimir Malevich's book with a hand-inscribed message from the artist: "Go and stop progress". In those societies tormented by the experiences of the Great War and totalitarianism, the logic of progress as a continuous improvement and betterment of the human condition was confronted by its own failure, marked by debris, ruins and personal catastrophes.

 

A U-turn is a simple driving manoeuvre that not only allows for a reversal of the direction of a journey but also offers a rare and unexpected chance to glance back at what we left behind, especially when travelling at high speed. Russian theorist Boris Groys uses this act as a vivid metaphor for philosophical metanoia - or the reversal of the gaze - classically described by Walter Benjamin in the figure of Angelus Novus who turns his back towards the future so that he can look back on the past and present.

 

This group exhibition employs this tactic of metanoia as a mode of looking at progress by examining its recent histories and traces. Though an unstoppable force surging linearly towards an infinite future, progress here is no longer only the mere act of facing forward. Instead it also looks back at its residues, reflections and remnants of its procession.

 

The artists contributing to the Members' Exhibition at the Library Project have been selected through the process of collaborative discussions and the resulting exhibition theme is based on their shared viewpoint and interpretation of the concept of progress in the contemporary context.

 

U-Turn has been developed as part of a broader conversation and its counterpart, a two-person exhibition, ∞ (Broken Mirrors), will run concurrently at the NCAD Gallery. Featuring the work of Jonathan Mayhew and Lee Welch, it broadly explores the concept and representation of the future in a contemporary context. U-Turn and ∞ (Broken Mirrors) represent two separate voices in a conversation that challenges our understanding of the time and the fixed knowledge of the future and the past and offer a great proliferation of correspondences on an intellectual, academic and personal level.