Fergus Byrne presents work from the ‘Wrestlers’ project in which the investigation of a sculpture in the National Gallery of Ireland has engaged wrestlers and dancers in an animation of the subject and dialogue between art forms. The floor of The Process Room has been fitted with mats typical of a wrestling ring in recognition of the fact that, in the many of the venues used for developing this project, floor surface was always an issue. For wrestlers and martial artists mats are necessary for training. For dancers a sprung floor is sought. While the fitting of the floor in the process room will facilitate live performance upon it, it is also intended to affect the tone of the room for those viewing the video sculptural research.
Whether in performance, drawing or writing, physical activities and perceptions are the basis of Fergus Byrne’s work. The medium of performance first attracted him because it allowed his physical training in martial arts to be integrated with his art. Subsequent to this he explored different forms of dance training. His current work was motivated by a desire to address the relationship between Contact Improvisation and Martial Arts. The focal point of the work was a statue in the National Gallery, The Wrestlers by Piamontini, which is an eighteenth century copy of a Hellenistic Greek bronze. This piece of sculpture is but one of a series of artworks and other objects which have attained some status within his memory. This mining of memory as an archaeological site is the broader intent of this and other work. A series of live events allowed the public to view for themselves the arts of wrestling and contact improvisation dance.
• Saturday 21st February 2009, 2.30pm: two members of the Hercules Gym in Dublin city Centre demonstrated wrestling techniques • Sunday 22nd February 12 2009, noon – 3pm: A Contact Improvisation Jam within the space considered the context of the work • Tuesday 24th February 2009, 3pm: A performance by Megan Kennedy and Jessica Kennedy, who had worked with Fergus in exploration of wrestling movements within Contact Improvisation. • Wednesday 25th February 2009, 2pm: A second performance by Megan Kennedy and Jessica Kennedy