July 16th 2015, Joseph Carr, The Examiner

Dublin Live Art Festival 2015 – Expect the Unexpected

Aine philips, Performing in Art Lot Dublin, Photo: Fiona Kileen
Aine philips, Performing in Art Lot Dublin, Photo: Fiona Kileen

With the return of The Dublin Live Art Festival, Dublin once again becomes a haven for the unexpected. Now in its fourth year, Dublin Live Art Festival has established itself as the premiere showcase for Irish and International live performance art in Dublin. This year, curator Niamh Murphy is focusing on the richness and diversity of performance art in Ireland. Featuring strong, home grown talent, including the irrepressible Amanda Coogan, the subtle and poignant genius of Francis Fay and the thought provoking Eleanor Lawler, as well as several other notable luminaries, the three day,DLAF 2015 will take place in a number of venues, including MART and the historic Casino at Marino, which promises to provide a dramatic and inspirational setting.

The festival opens Friday, July 24th with an evening of on-street, public performances at Art LotDublin, the outdoor exhibition space off Harcourt Road, which has become a hub for contemporary live art, sculpture and performance. Events continue on Saturday, July 25th at MART Gallery and Studios in Rathmines with the seminar series, “Where do we place Live Art?” The seminar will bring together prominent Irish artists from across disciplines, including theatre makers, curators and community activists to discuss the ways in which ‘performance practice informs cultural production.’ Saturday evening will also see some unmissable performances hosted by Livestock, a bi-monthly live art event, with artists responding to the theme of ‘PERFORMING PLEASURE.’ Performers on the night will include Helena Walsh, Fergus Byrne, Laura O’Connor and Tara Carroll.

The festival closes with its potential jewel in the crown, an afternoon of live performances in theCasino at Marino on Sunday, July 26th. Amanda Coogan, Áine Phillips, Brian Connolly, James King, Frances Fay, Eleanor Lawler, and EL Putnam will each perform pieces specifically designed to respond to the unique architecture, history, and lore of this historical site, an 18th-century neo-classical “folly” created as a pleasure house for James Caulfield, the 1st Earl of Charlemont.

If this year’s festival looks a little light in terms of events, that might have to do with the fact that the festival is broken into two sections this year. Firstly, a summer festival in July, which will be followed by a winter festival later in November. An intriguing gamble, but the Dublin Live Art Festival is never anything less than intriguing and always prepared to take a gamble.


April 2015, Una Mullally, The Irish Times

A little bit of monkey magic shows how art can liven up a city’s dead space

On a little corner of Dublin, Art Lot, a derelict space, is managing to hold its own as an open air public exhibition space
On a little corner of Dublin, Art Lot, a derelict space, is managing to hold its own as an open air public exhibition space

There’s plenty of debate about vacant space these days, especially when it comes to how it could be used for creative and cultural endeavours. Well, on a little corner of Dublin, where Harcourt Road and South Richmond Street meet, Art Lot, a derelict space, is managing to hold its own as an open air public exhibition space.
Walk past it during the day time at the moment, and you’ll be confronted by a bizarre collection of shiny brown sculptures. Are they human or are they dancer? Are they gorilla or are they prancer? Walk past it at night, and the space comes alive in a surreal and creepy way (see Dance Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Whelan), with lights flashing and the sculptures reflected in installed mirrors.

Art Lot Dublin is a project that has featured a rolling number of exhibitions for over a year. There have been photos from a teenage skateboard photographer, exhibitions of light, abstract sculpture, and performance art.

The latest exhibition is by Sandra Davoren. Davoren’s work is “driven by ideas that stem from zoomorphism” according to Art Lot’s website, and creates a sort of mash-up of animalistic and humanoid beings, the results of which here slide from curious Neanderthal to vicious gorilla. While you wouldn’t call it pretty, it certainly is striking.

Art Lot is just a tiny little patch of the city, but it does make you think how much more animated our streets, corners, walls and paths could become if more experimental public art filled the gaps that developers have left, or that dereliction has caused.

For more on the project, check out artlotdublin.wordpress.com.

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February 2015 ‘Experiments in Light’ video of the week Art Daily International

‘Experiments in light’. Curated by John Kenny and Jonathan Carroll. from Cat Dunne on Vimeo.

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October 2014 Dublin Live Art Festival: Art Lot Dublin from Cat Dunne on Vimeo.

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VULGO, September 18th, 2014

artlotdublin copy

Art Lot Dublin was founded in June 2013 by curator Jonathan Carroll as an outdoor exhibition space for Contemporary Art, the site is located beside the former well known late night diner The Manhattan at the corner of Harcourt Road and Richmond Street South. The project which is funded by local businesses has transformed the otherwise vacant site into a hub for Visual Arts based projects and interventions.

Most recently the space exhibited ‘Youth Culture’ a series of photographs by Eighteen Year old photographer Alex Sheridan as part of PhotoIreland Festival and over the next few weeks in collaboration with The Dublin Live Art Festival (DLAF) the space will play host to some of Irelands leading Performance Artists. Founded in 2012 by live Performance Artist Niamh Murphy the Dublin Live Art Festival has spent the last couple of years building on the thriving live art community based in Ireland and increasingly developing links with international practitioners and curators.

Performance artist Ciaran O’Keefe, will be performing in the Art Lot Dublin on Sunday September 28th,  (Photo by Paul Connell)
Performance artist Ciaran O’Keefe, will be performing in the Art Lot Dublin on Sunday September 28th, (Photo by Paul Connell)

For the Art Lot Dublin strand of the festival, 10 artists have been asked to respond to the site and perform for 1Hour each evening (5.30 -6.30pm) from the 19th-28th of September. The Line-up includes artists Francis Fay, Ciaran O’Keefe, Aine O’Hara, Eleanor Lawler, Dr Katherine Nolan & Aine Philips. The aim of the collaboration is to provide an opportunity for both seasoned live art enthusiasts and members of the public to experience a broad cross section of work by some of the country’s leading performance artists outside of the traditional gallery or museum setting.

Copyright © VULGO

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Art Daily, July 1st 2014, Exhibition by eighteen year old photographer documents the Irish world of skateboarding

‘Callum’ by photographer Alex Sheridan captures a skateboarder using Ireland’s trophy from the Celtic Tiger years, The Samuel Beckett Bridge, by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava as a ramp, while the vacant Anglo Irish Bank headquarters which led to the demise of the Irish economy can be seen in the background.
‘Callum’ by photographer Alex Sheridan captures a skateboarder using Ireland’s trophy from the Celtic Tiger years, The Samuel Beckett Bridge, by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava as a ramp, while the vacant Anglo Irish Bank headquarters which led to the demise of the Irish economy can be seen in the background.

DUBLIN.- The outdoor exhibition space Art Lot Dublin is exhibiting ‘Youth Culture’ by Alex Sheridan. Alex Sheridan is an eighteen year old photographer whose work documents a part of Irish youth culture which emanates from the world of skateboarding. Presented as part of the PhotoIreland Festival, Youth Culture exhibits Sheridan’s images scaled to the size of billboard advertisements and installed around the hoarding of this unique outdoor exhibition space in Dublin.

Art Lot Dublin was a project established in 2013 to transform a derelict site into a platform for exhibiting contemporary art. Co-ordinated by curator Jonathan Carroll and funded by local businesses the space is located beside The Manhattan, a former well known late-night diner at the junction of Harcourt Road and Richmond Terrace in Dublin City Centre.

For his exhibition Sheridan’s installation takes the form of black and white images printed bill board size and may be viewed as echoing the photocopied punk fanzines of the 1980’s pointing toward an ongoing tradition of DIY-aesthetics originating from youth subcultures, while at the same time reinforcing notions of irreverence, graffiti, and the skateboarding attitude of occupying and subverting public space.

Exhibition Curator John Kenny says “The PhotoIreland Festival has grown to become one of the highlights of the county’s cultural calendar, it creates an important space for dialogue. Ireland has not been in a good place the last few years and Sheridan’s work unwittingly captures many of the nation’s current anxieties, empty car parks, derelict shop fronts, the vacant Anglo Irish Bank headquarters on the Quays, his work is as much a documentation of Dublin in this moment in time, as it is of the youth who occupy it“. Alex Sheridan ‘Youth Culture‘ runs from July 1st – August 31st, 2014 as part of the PhotoIreland Festival at Art Lot Dublin, Outdoor Exhibition Space, Junction of Harcourt Road and Richmond Terrace, Dublin 2.

Copyright © artdaily.org

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Visual Artists News Sheet January/February 2014: ‘Held Captive by the Site’, Sarah Allen Profiles ‘Art Lot’

Neil Carroll, An exhumation of the wreck of hope (no Man is an island), 2013, Artlot, Dublin
Neil Carroll, An exhumation of the wreck of hope (no Man is an island),
2013, Artlot, Dublin

PROFILE: ART IN THE PUBLIC REALM
‘HELD CAPTIVE BY THE SITE’ SARAH ALLEN PROFILES ‘ART LOT’, A PROGRAMME OF TEMPORARY VISUAL ARTS PROJECTS PROGRAMMED BY JONATHAN CARROLL FOR A VACANT LOT IN DUBLIN CITY CENTRE.

A little corner at the junction of Harcourt Road and Richmond Terrace has been undergoing some curious changes over the past months. Located beside the former diner and Dublin landmark The Manhattan, visual arts project ‘Art Lot’ has set about transforming the long derelict site through thought-provoking artistic intervention. From its inception in June 2013 the project’s curator Jonathan Carroll has acknowledged the dual complications of exhibiting art in the public realm as well as engaging with an inherently problematic space. Having gained experience dealing with public art through his work with the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival (2007 – 2009) Carroll drew up a realistic proposal and succeeded in securing funding for the project from a local business. The six participating artists Neil Carroll, Ella de Burca, Teresa Gillespie, Maria McKinney, Seoidin O’Sullivan and Sharon White have been working sequentially re-imagining the space in bi-monthly cycles.

Emerging at a time when public art projects are receiving heightened media exposure Carroll is keen to emphasise those attributes which make ‘Art Lot’ unique. “Granby Park organised by the Upstart Collective staged temporary activities which took place over a short period of time. It was very focused on community engagement and visual art was only a small part of the overall plan. Similar comparisons can be drawn with ‘Art Tunnel’ in Smithfield which encouraged the local community, including a school, to exhibit their work on the Smithfield site. What ‘Art Lot’ offers in contrast to these projects is a specific focus on visual art of a particular kind.”

Carroll notes that a local business provided the budget and undertook some work on the site to meet health and safety requirements. Regarding further funding he notes that each artist received up to 1250 euro to cover materials and an artist’s fee. The artists then installed the work themselves with some assistance from the curator. Neil Carroll for example, paid a colleague of his to work with him on the site as the installation required a second pair of hands and some skilled labour. Ella de Burca sourced support from Irish Fencing and Railings LTD company to provide fences for her work in exchange for publicity. Finally, design work for posters was raised with the support of local business who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Growth and development are at the heart of the project’s ethos. Rather than artists installing and unveiling their work in a short space of time each artist’s work emerges bit by bit over a two month period. This concept focuses audience attention more acutely on the means of production, positing that artistic production is as significant as the finished work. The project’s wordpress blog (www.artlotdublin.wordpress.com) offers a platform for the artists to map their engagement with the site, thus functioning as an essential element in demystifying the artistic process.

With it’s cumulative approach the public enters into an exciting relationship with the ‘Art Lot’ artworks as they come into being. Both the artwork and the viewer’s perceptions are in evolution and flux. Into this dynamic space between art and its public, the cityscape and city life itself can inject new meaning. As Carroll points out, the top deck of a double-decker bus allows a bird’s eye perspective of the work – and it might well be the best place to experience the project, especially if traffic jams ensure a truly ‘captive’ audience.

As the site is enclosed by metal gates, the artists are also to some extent held captive by the site. This concept of ‘artist in a cage’ might suggest an interesting power shift from the usual white cube dynamic in which – it could be argued – the viewer steps into the space that is emphatically ‘authored’ by the artist. Ella de Burca, who completed her stint on site this November, played off the notion of the cage constructing a series of fences one behind the other which over time amassed to form an imposing mesh of barriers.

‘The Fourth Plinth’ project sited in London’s Trafalgar Square was a source of inspiration for Carroll in devising the project. The latest installation has seen a giant blue cockerel – Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch – reign over the historical square delighting tourists and provoking much debate. There are salient parallels to be drawn between ‘The Fourth Plinth’ and the endeavors of ‘Art Lot’, among them how the artist’s work enters into a dynamic dialogue with its setting. The more dramatic ‘Art Lot’ creations form an arresting juxtaposition with the traditional familiar Georgian facades of Dublin’s Harcourt Street and surrounding areas.

One particular landmark in the area – located just a stones-throw from the ‘Art Lot’ site – is The Bernard Shaw pub. Over the past decade the pub has cultivated a distinctive image owing in part to its ever-changing graffiti art. “Graffiti seems to be the go-to thing for covering vacant sites” comments Carroll “it is a solution that is popular and very good at grabbing attention, however with ‘Art Lot’ we wanted something a bit more solid.” Although frequently enlivening drab cityscapes most graffiti could be said to have a more pronounced, decorative function, yet an essential element of ‘Art Lot’s’ intrigue lies not in providing decoration but provoking speculation.

Carroll highlights how the group welcomed viewer speculation during the initial stages of the project. “We had a funny situation where there was an on-line discussion about what our site could be (this was before we put up any signage). After many postings on-line someone eventually suggested that it may be a public art project – bingo! We also had some rogue signage put up by some inventive passerby, with their humorous suggestion of what the site could be.” ‘Art Lot’ adheres to the contemporary art’s eschewal of definitive meanings or absolute truths. Carroll goes on to comment how working in a site which is not designated to visual art is a liberating experience “you have a chance to return to a purer debate about the role of art and where it should be.”

The option for each artist to leave physical or metaphorical traces of their interventions in the space, after their allotted time is part of Carroll’s curatorial strategy. This can allow specific pieces to speak directly to one another. As part of her work Seoidin O’Sullivan harvested buddleia vines from the site to make flagpoles. Upon completion of her cycle these were cleared to make way for Sharon White’s piece Colony which consisted of a colony of small wooden houses that mushroomed around the site. Here Carroll notes how these two projects echo one another in referencing the organic.

Indeed even if there is no obvious trace of the artist’s work left on site, by virtue of their slow incremental ‘coming into being’, the image of the work becomes installed in the viewer’s memory and thus the work is afforded a life beyond its material existence. This might best be exemplified by Neil Carroll’s enigmatic sculpture ‘An exhumation of the Wreck of Hope (No man is an island)’. Its angular silhouette seems to linger in the mind’s eye even after deinstallation. Superimposed onto its memory is the image of the following art work and so the two mingle in the mind inviting comparisons and enriching their individual readings.

The title ‘Art Lot’ was chosen to purpose fluidity, to suggest that the project could take roots in other vacant spaces in the city. Carroll is hopeful for the project’s future commenting that “Ideally we want to secure funding to take over more sites in Dublin and get a conversation going about the cityscape and how the environment could be more fluid. The initiative to make use of derelict sites came from Dublin City Council (the owners of the Art Lot site) who wish to eradicate the blight of hoarding around the city. DCC are accommodating projects by offering space but so far they do not provide funding for running costs. As any artist will have experienced, the money they get for their work is spent on materials; this leaves little left as an artist fee. If more businesses could provide realistic budgets, we can provide projects to suit.”

To find out more about the project please visit http://www.artlotdublin.wordpress.com

Sarah Allen is a Dublin based arts writer and journalist. Among other publications her writing has appeared in The Irish Arts Review, Aesthetica Magazine, Photomonitor Magazine and Prism Photography Magazine.

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