With a keen interest in archaeology and history, London-based Patrick Hough exhibits a new video artwork in progress. Using Askeaton as a base for a series of fieldtrips around the country, Hough’s camera and inquisitive research has focused on fossil footprints from 350 million years ago, uncovered human bodies in bogs as part of medieval sacrificial ceremonies, and found 10,000 year-old forests that emerge out of the sea. A particular highlight is footage made around Skellig Michael in Kerry, a site that has attracted everyone from the Vikings to Star Wars and Werner Herzog before Hough’s own arrival – his project now excitedly begins as his first filmwork in his native Ireland.
Tina O’Connell and Neal White have collaborated to present a large-scale installation. Study for a Pavilion: Askeaton combines various elements of national identity and material culture to begin to imagine a pavilion dedicated to life and shape of Askeaton itself. This expansive act incorporates a geodesic dome and a video re-imagining of Sean Keating’s now-destroyed mural from the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. In an accompanying series of digitally manipulated photographs, stolen and lost sculptures by Helen Chadwick, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth are transposed to appear as apparitions and ghostly figures at twilight in public spaces in Askeaton.
Writer Kevin Barry works alongside Olivia Smith to edit Winter Papers, an annual anthology of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography and visual arts. All visitors to our open day freely received a special limited edition Winter Papers publication, made in Askeaton and featuring photographic images taken by Joanne Betty Conlon of Limerick City in the late 1980s and early 1990s, accompanied by new texts by Barry that explore the narratives and lived spaces of Ireland’s mid west at that time.
Italian artist Michael Fliri has been experimenting with novel casting processes and complex sculptural techniques at an empty retail space in Askeaton’s East Square. For some time Fliri has explored the role of masks in tribal and folk rituals, objects that are now often seen in ethnographical collections in museums throughout the world. In Askeaton, a collection of new mask sculptures each share an eyeball with another mask, intrinsically interconnected and surreally acting as an allegory for the tense biopolitical power structures that inhabit our contemporary times.
Many public events have occurred during our residency programme, each introducing new perspectives to the role and purpose of contemporary art in the Limerick region. From the Special Collections Library in Chelsea College of Arts, Gustavo Grandal Montero presented artist books by seminal figures such as Daniel Spoerri, Ed Ruscha and Dieter Roth. After presentations at the Berlinale Film Festival and Vancouver Film Festival, Maya Schweizer returned to present the Irish debut of her new film A Tall Tale - many scenes filmed in her time in Askeaton feature in her acclaimed work.