Through photographs, installations and drawings, Archiving Place & Time reveals how a new generation of contemporary artists from Northern Ireland have responded to the changed situation since the signing of the historic Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.
The Agreement brought to an end some thirty years of bitter conflict, where it has developed significant socio-political and economic changes in Northern Ireland, not just for peoples everyday lives but their awareness of the past and their hopes for the future. The exhibition embodies subtle responses to history, memory and archival material, examining the central themes and shifts in territory and place, urban regeneration and mapping in a post-industrial city, and the reconstruction and redefinition of traditional and post-conflict identity.
Over the last ten years, there has been a noticeable shift towards new forms of contemporary art practice and expression in Northern Ireland. The works selected for the exhibition have been produced by well-known contemporary artists who are from, live or work in Northern Ireland, and have seen first hand the re-building of their environment and society, and offer a personal response to these changes. They include artists Willie Doherty, Paul Seawright, Rita Duffy, Sandra Johnston, Conor McGrady, Mary McIntyre, Aisling OBeirn, Philip Napier and Conor McFeely.
The exhibition was produced in partnership with the Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Launched in Manchester in November 2009, the exhibition was accompanied by a major conference Irishness, Memory and Visuality, in conjunction with the British Association of Irish Studies.
The exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery
continues to demonstrate Wolverhamptons commitment to displaying work based around the theme of conflict, and follows the exhibition Fresh Perspectives, which explored the role of visual artists in presenting Northern Irelands contested past and future using works from Wolverhamptons significant collection of contemporary Northern Irish visual arts.
Archiving Place & Time was curated by Millennium Court Arts Centre Director Megan Johnston and Fionna Barber from Manchester Metropolitan Museum.