VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow Local Authorities Arts Office & Carlow Arts Festival Éigse present Everything can be done, in principle, a new commissioned artwork by Brian Duggan, curated by Helen Carey.
Everything can be done, in principle. Short video clip from gallery installation Visual Carlow 2012. The exhibition was open to the public to skate in, inside the gallery. Saturday 9th June – 26 August 2012
Outlined in the banditti of the plains by A.S. Mercer (1894), a band of fifty-two cattlemen and hired gunmen invaded Johnson Country, Wyoming, in April 1892, killing and terrorizing the settlers. Through the installation of a timber and canvas roller skating rink within the gallery, Duggan’s ambitious work transports gallery visitors through the frontier lands of Wyoming and American Western Cinema, as seen in Michael Cimino’s Heavens’s Gate (1980). Duggan invites the public to participate in a public activity, to skate with an element of costume, in the place and time of the Johnson County’s war, suggesting this trope allows Ireland of the 21st century to explore constantly shifting notions of social identity.
Within the extraordinary galleries of VISUAL Carlow, visitors glide across a timber floor where social integration seems entirely possible. As in Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, this haven exists against the realities of resistance and harsh economics, against a world in the full throttle of seismic change, in terms of progress and innovation—a new world of railways, immigrant workers, pioneering construction, evolving power, and government organization—all moving into a new era. Duggan suggests the lens of Cimino’s version of the cattlemen / homesteader conflict in the American frontier serves to allow the individual and the collective to re-negotiate how they co-exist. He also proposes the inherent fragility of parallel versions of history in physically creating the space within a space. Walter Benjamin suggests rupture as catharsis, and in Everything can be done, in principle, Duggan suggests inhabiting a constructed space as a starting point for this.
Cimino’s film Heaven’s Gate is a film which broke all the rules and supported true art through an often ruthless pursuit of authenticity, to the extent of challenging the prevailing powerful studio system. Often seen as the beginning of money men era, Heaven’s Gate marked a changing moment for maverick auteur film directing and the role of the producer. It also branded the Western in clear class struggle, selected social agenda terms.
Brian Duggan (b. 1971) lives and works in Dublin.
Helen Carey is currently Director / Curator of Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland.
A new joint commission by VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow Local Authorities Arts Office, and Carlow Arts Festival Éigse 2012.
Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.