Dublin Contemporary 2011 – Splashy or Splishy?

Went along to this International Art Fair at the weekend. Heavy rain had finally cleared and a Sunday afternoon's ruckus of children were blotted over the first floor of Earlsfort Terrace, an abandoned university campus. The paraphrased theme is Terrible Beauty—Art, Crisis, Change: Taken from William Butler Yeats’ famous poem “Easter, 1916”... suggesting "art’s underused potential for commenting symbolically on the world’s societal, cultural and economic triumphs and ills".

Walking through, the marie-celesteness of the venue would normally be just my cup of tea, but for some reason, I found it all distracting. Maybe that's because I'm not a nostalgic Dubliner. Rather, I must be a curmudgeon and regressing to white-cube preferences. Anyhow! I kept feeling that I was in a student graduation show, because every piece had it's own dreary little room with sockets and bare-faced concrete. Some were transformed wonderfully and completely, while others weren't, it seemed to depend on something arbitrary.

Attention deficiency led to constant forgetting of the theme... so it's just as well I brought a camera, because otherwise, an unreflective impression might have been misleading.

The stuff I liked in-situ was mainly the video work because "I got it" in terms of something political-social-surreal-challenging-ish. Chen Chieh - Jen's Empire's Borders was a series of interviews with regular Taiwanese people who simply wanted to go on holiday to the States. They were required to go through humiliating interviews at the embassy to get the visa, but were rejected for no known reason. Loved Niamh O'Malley's Quarry – a projection of stoney visuals onto a black canvas... like a painting, but alive.

Alejandro Almanza Pereda – Horror Vacuii

The static spatial pieces that struck me however were the disturbing / textual / strange ones. Floating barbed wire, the terrifying hairy tit, painfully hand-rendered magazines and a giant slimey octopus...

Amanda Coogan's live piece – Spit Spit, Scrub Scrub – featuring herself and two other performers in a room dribbling onto their huge blue satin gowns – for three hours!! Really, no image could do justice to that.

Dan Perjovschi's Dublin Drawings in the Annex were probably the most communicative piece on theme for me: simple social commentary with humour. ah!

Brian Duggan's Ferriss Big Wheel model, is a replica of one in the Russia town of Pripyat which was evacuated during the Chernobyl disaster. Abandoned promises of fun and frolic... that spooky vibe.

Fernando Bryce – Comoedia, Brian Duggan – The Short Term Evacuation, Wilfred Preto, Mark Clare – Democracity

Alan Butler – Painting of a photo from a news report of a suicide at Foxconn, Shenzhen, China, 2010; painted in an oil painting factory in China

Dan Perjovschi – One of countless ditties in The Dublin Drawing

Teresa Margolles – City's Keys 

Maarten Vanden Eynde – The Earth seen from the Moon

Siobhan Gibbon – Neoplasm

Mark Cullen – Towards Superconnection, James Deutscher – Oh, na, na, what's my name? Oh, na, na, what's my name?, Dan Perjovschi – The Dublin Drawing, Installation in the medical library (Artist anyone?)

Overall, I left without that furious sinking exhaustion that happens after "Art", maybe because of the lack of text information around the place, or maybe because it was all so cosy and derelict. Hmm.

Anyone else seen it and have thoughts on this?