Views from Venice
VENICE AT FARMLEIGH Farmleigh Gallery, Farmleigh, Castleknock, Dublin Thurs-Sun 10am-5.30pm Until May 5 01-8155900
Highlights of Ireland’s representation at the 52nd Venice Biennale, featuring film installations by Willie Doherty and Gerard Byrne, both certainly among the Irish artists who have built significant international profiles. Byrne restages archive interviews but, instead of aiming for historical plausibility, he makes them deliberately un-naturalistic, working against the dramatic grain.This version of a Brechtian alienation technique serves to dislodge the subject narratives from any comfortable “then” and “now”. Included is a restaged interview with Jean-Paul Sartre late in his life, Homme à Femmes (Michel Debrane).
Doherty’s Ghost Story (above) is a bleak postAgreement parable in which the haunted voice of Stephen Rea in voiceover recalls a landscape blighted by unimaginable horror and tragedy as though remembering a dream. Was it real, he seems to ask and, if it was real, what was the point? A chilling piece of work.