Views from Venice

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Listings - AIDAN DUNNE

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.

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