Magazine article Art Monthly

Jaki Irvine

Magazine article Art Monthly

Jaki Irvine

Article excerpt

Jaki Irvine The Irish Museum of Modern Art Dublin December 13 to April 17

Made up of a series of eight video projections, The Silver Bridge, 2003, was in part inspired by Carmilla, a 19th-century Gothic novel by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Arrows on the wall suggest the viewer's pathway through this first public installation of the work. Such an ordering seems purposefully contrary to the disjointed narratives contained in the piece.

The first projection is visually and aurally arresting: an evening sky scene in which swarms of birds flutter excitedly as their screeching mingles with the noise of their wings. The next room displays a view of the Phoenix Park, Dublin, devised on traditional landscape composition with obvious fore-, middle- and backgrounds. Luscious colour tones add to its pictorial perfection. A single wind-bent tree stands in a golden meadow as a man paces thoughtfully, or listlessly. Nettles wave at the front and reinforce the audio of whistling wind, while the grey-blue mountain in the distance augments the romantic dimension of this configuration. The next projection slips from close-ups of two deer grazing in a wooded area to a wider shot, which reveals that between the camera/viewer and the deer are a number of white doors. Erect and out of place, the doors bring tensions between natural and man-made worlds to the fore by visually introducing the viewer to ideas of freedom and restraint. As the deer are indifferent to the doors, is the listless man of the previous room oblivious to the beauty of his surroundings or is it that beauty which makes him restless?

In a corridor space two projections in which bats feature prominently face each other. In one, a close study discloses a playful side to the creatures so many find abhorrent. They frolic along the ground and yawningly wrap themselves upside-down, ready for sleep, contradicting the sinister associations that are culturally constructed around them. Opposite these endearing scenes, a woman peers at the bats through the glass wall of an indoor constructed habitat at Dublin Zoo. She glances only briefly at a man who passes by.

A large projection in the next room shows two black-clad women as they dangle beneath the Silver Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin. They hold and slide by each other, and eventually one jumps down out of the screen's view. Meanwhile at the other end of the room a small projection charts the slow progress of a woman crawling on her stomach along the upperside of the bridge. …

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