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Precaution: Youngfringe at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
Eoin McHugh, Untitled, 2005, acrylic ink and watercolour on paper, 56 x 35 cm.
DUBLIN, IRELAND.-An exciting, new exhibition resulting from a collaboration between the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Youngfringe opens to the public at IMMA Tuesday 13 September 2005. Precaution provides alternative spaces for work to be shown in seven different locations around the Museum; a tree on the east avenue, the front lawn, an artists studio, a shipping container, a staircase, the Process Room and the Project Room. This is the first year that the Dublin Fringe Festival has included a Youngfringe programme as part of the festival. Much of the work in the exhibition is being exhibited for the first time.

John Beattie has produced a site-specific piece, Extension, physically linking the grounds of the Museum with an installation inside. The performative painting involves the use of a customised video camera attached to the artist’s foot and arm, which documents actions around areas surrounding the Museum. This act is also documented through photography. The video/sound piece created while the artist walked is shown on the screen of the customised video camera that was used to record it. This work is process-driven, with the idea itself as the core of the piece. The Museum space, the equipment, the artist’s walk and the artistic documentation of the experience become both the process and the finished work.

An installation by Eoin McHugh involves a number of framed drawings hung in close proximity to each other that depict objects, experiments, performances and narratives. McHugh states that he is ‘interested in the structuring of language involved in the interpretation of ambiguity in an artwork; in the space between the image, the object and the idea.’ Objects and ideas depicted in his drawings are further explored in a new dimension through the development of an ambitious new sculpture and a site-specific work on the front lawn of the Museum titled Garden. This temporary intervention is again exploring a conceptual space, that between the physical plants and the idea of transience.

Vanessa Donoso López explores the complexities of human relationships. Through the use of patterns, colour, line drawing and collage set against stark backgrounds she creates energetic and sometimes eccentric characters bursting with life and complexities. Continuing with some of the themes such as childhood memories, dreams and fantasy in her mixed media pieces, López has created a number of delicate clockwork kinetic sculptures to bring a new dimension to the characters from her paintings.

In Caroline Donoghue’s work, created on a found handwritten ledger - a ‘day book’ from Belfast Gasworks dated 1916, a miniature forest of trees appears to grow randomly from the open pages. The miniature landscape that is conjured presents a dreamlike state and perhaps promises escape. Within the ledger is the sense of a time past, the model trees the only reference point. Trained as a printmaker, Donoghue also uses new media and sculpture to express her ideas. Her video works in this exhibition deal with her interest in the human need to collect and archive.

Eilis McDonald gathers debris from her surroundings on which to make paintings. Located in a shipping container outside the main entrance to the Museum, McDonald’s site-specific work reacts to the constraints of this space in an explosive manner. The piece has an anxious energy, which results from the layering of paintings, noise, lights and video work. The installation combines a range of media that bring together themes relating to confusion and popular culture, art history and value systems.

Nina Canell combines found and custom-built objects to make sculptural and sound works. Objects are balanced and positioned in order to sustain a flexible state in which formations move with a seeming randomness, provoking an interesting clash between the visual and the sonic impact. Canell creates an alternative perspective on structures that we may normally perceive as purely utilitarian. She finds the hidden language of these objects and with ingenuity turns these everyday objects into works of art.

Paul Coffey’s works, which are a combination of artistic actions or experiments, are made using familiar everyday materials. His gently humorous and questioning works are so understated that they force us to look for things, to question the why and how. Rich in metaphor and ambiguity the first of Coffey’s two works is an intervention by the artist with a tree in the grounds of the Museum which involves using a dot punch to create holes in the leaves of the tree. The second installation of a single Christmas decoration, powered through a coil of extension leads, is located on a staircase at the Museum. Both works link the exterior and interior and use materials from urban daily life in an unlikely fashion playing with expectations and perceptions of the ordinary.

Brigette Heffernan’s work I propose a toast is an entertaining installation that demands audience participation. The participant chooses a piece of bread and pops it into a toaster before launching it along a measured track. The results are marked onto a score sheet and at the end of the exhibition, the overall winner is told of their victory by their chosen means of contact. Heffernan has a strong focus in her work on whimsy and humour. Access is paramount; there must be no barriers between the artistic endeavour and the audience.

A full-colour publication with a text by the curators Janice Hough, Johanne Mullan and Marguerite O’Molloy accompanies the exhibition. There will be an opportunity to meet the artists at IMMA on Sunday 18 September from 3.00pm - 5.00pm. Precaution continues until the 2 October.

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