A Collaborative between the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Siamsa Tire in association with the Kerry Film Festival
Record, an exhibition of three film works from the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, opens to the public at Siamsa Tire, Tralee, Co Kerry on Saturday, 30 October 2010. The exhibition focus is on three different film works that represent reality in a documentary style, each shot by different artists: Sarah Morris, Gerardo Suter and Alanna O’Kelly.
Robert Towne by Sarah Morris turns the cameras on the screen writer/director Robert Towne. It presents a ‘portrait’ of the script-doctor whose work has included many classic block-busters from the 1970s onwards. Towne is shot portrait-style talking in his home with the occasional view of his desk or hallway. However, against the unchanging visual content during Towne’s 34-minute monologue, Morris is able to introduce subtle allusions to cinematic techniques. Atmospheric music suggests a building tension as Towne becomes excited about a point he is making. With the music, later, fading out once he has finished the point. Likewise, uncomfortable and seemingly unnecessary cuts in the film unsettle the viewer awkwardly between Townes sentences.
Morris’s film enjoys the paradox of Towne the central character and Towne the film-maker, ‘an anarchist who wants to take control of a fantasy world.’ Ultimately, her exaggerated editorial techniques deliberately draw attention to the methods by which film-makers construct a picture of reality.
Gerardo Suter, who directs Replica, uses five seconds of footage of one of the first images broadcast on the day of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, the most devastating in the history of the Americas. While the footage is rolling, Suter runs text along the bottom of the screen written by Carlos Monsivais recounting his own experience of the tragedy. Monsivais is a cultural historian, known for his chronicles of life in Mexico and specifically its capital city. Both he and Suter have focused much of their work on the history and culture of Mexico.
The film is a visual and intellectual perception of extreme moments that, under special circumstances, become minutes, hours or days. As a result of the earthquake, according to official government statistics, more than 9000 people were killed, 30,000 injured and 100,000 left homeless; 416 buildings were destroyed and over 3,000 seriously damaged.
The third film by Alanna O’Kelly is Sanctuary/Wasteland which presents a rocky burial mound onto which O’Kelly has projected a slow-moving vocabulary of film close-ups illustrating evidence of burials and the long-term effects of the famine on the life of the area Thallabhawn, Co Mayo.
Teampall Dumhach Mhór or ‘Church of the Great Sandbank’ lies on the edge of an estuary between Mweelrea Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean in Thallabhawn. Against the backdrop of this rocky mound, O’Kelly superimposes details of the original site. The undercurrent of sombre sound is an integral element within the film work. Sounds of breathing, of keening – the traditional lament for the dead in the west of Ireland – and sounds from the wider world, where similar famines continue to occur, complete the piece. The overall effect of sight and sound serves to convey the famine’s emotional extremes – hope and despair, loss and recovery.
All three films that make up the exhibition Record will be shown in Siamsa Tire as part of the Kerry Film Festival for 2010. It is a collaborative project between the National Programme at IMMA and the Gallery at Siamsa Tire in association with the Kerry Film Festival.
The central aim of the Museum’s National Programme is to establish the Museum’s core values of excellence, inclusiveness and accessibility to contemporary art on the national level. Focusing on the Collection from the Museum, the programme facilitates offsite projects and exhibitions in a range of venues and situations throughout Ireland. IMMA aims to act as a resource at a local level through working in partnership, relying on the knowledge and concerns of the local community. Partner organisations are wide-ranging and include a variety of venues both in traditional art and non-arts spaces, allowing for far-reaching access and interaction.
The exhibition continues until 19 November 2010 in Siamsa Tire.