These Circular Ruins, Illuminations Gallery, Dept. of English, Maynooth University

22 February – 10 March, 2016

Curated by Aoife Tunney and Dr. Colin Graham.

These Circular Ruins presents a series of new works that concern themselves with the intersecting agencies of language, form and image. Taking as its premise a number of myths and legends entwined within the history of Maynooth University, the project revolves around a walk taken through a number of spaces on campus to which rumours or elusive histories are attached. The installation, consisting of photographs, sculptural works and drawings, reflects on pictorial traditions, the constructed nature of history and knowledge, and how language can construct specific histories around spaces. It represents an effort to uncover delicate energies embedded within sites, and to give form to thoughts and ideas. In attempting to materialise elusive memories, stories and myths contained within the site, the project seeks to underscore the unperceivable currents that flow beneath mainstream forms of knowledge.

The title, These Circular Ruins, is a reference taken from Judith Butler’s seminal text Gender Trouble, in which Butler describes gender as the ‘circular ruins’ of contemporary debate. The exhibition borrows from this reference an awareness of the common impossibility of determining an exact point of origin for particular notions or theories. Expanding on this spirit, the project offers a way of thinking about history, language and myth that is less concerned with chronology and linearity, and is willing to forsake the historian’s empirical search for points of origin in favour of more fluid conversations about time, language and the history of stories and spaces.

 

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These Circular Ruins. Multi-screen installation.

 

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Installation shots

 

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Rhetorical objects, part 1 and 2. Aluminium, latex, Indian ink (1.2m x 1.2m); expanding foam, plaster, Indian ink (variable).

 

RhetoricalObjects3

Rhetorical objects, part 2. (Detail).