SUPERKALEIDOSCOPE WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE

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The directors of SuperKaleidoscope would like to present Irish art writer Rebecca O’Dwyer as Writer-in-Residence for the Featured Artist Program.

Following her text 'Now-ness' and the work of Dara Gillpublished on our website last month, Rebecca will follow up this month by introducing emerging Irish artist Adrian Duncan.

Rebecca O’Dwyer holds a BA in Sculpture from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and has also completed a MA Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD. Her current projects include a collaborative publication titled, Not Drowning but Waving working with fellow Irish writers, Imelda Barnard, Emma Dwyer and Kathy Tynan.

Rebecca O’Dwyer will begin her PhD at The National College of Art & Design, Dublin, Ireland in 2012. The working title of her paper is The New Transcendentalism: Contemporary Art and Autonomy.


FEATURED ARTIST 

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ADRIAN DUNCAN

Born in Ireland 1978, currently lives in Dublin.

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SUPERKALEIDOSCOPE PRESENTS IRISH ARTIST ADRIAN DUNCAN WITH TEXT BY ART WRITER REBECCA O'DWYER

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I have never written about Adrian Duncan’s work before. There might already be enough words inside of it: all that needs to be said is said with an easy brilliance I would struggle to match. In any case, I will now add to that sum of words, for better or for worse.

Duncan’s work is that of a bastardized ‘writer-cum-engineer-cum-artist,’ and while speaking to all of these disciples, is never truly fidelitous to any one. Rather, each discipline is twisted and translated into the work, forming an idiosyncratic corpus as much informed by the dark colloquialisms of his native Longford, as it is by geometry’s metaphysical resonance. The work of translation here is a deliberately flexible process, as autobiography and memory are refashioned to slowly approach the absurd. Whilst for the most part these personal narratives are, I assume, ‘true,’ every once in a while it takes a turn into the surreal, thus remodelling the remainder as something to be distrusted.

Crucially, his practice is multi-faceted and interlinked, with various strands of the work being re-used and developed upon over time. They are never given the chance to rest or become static, but instead reflect the compulsion to attain a specific accuracy of signification, faithful to the mnemonic tract. However with each iteration Duncan implicitly acknowledges this effort as doomed: the growing temporal distance that separates this initial event, and its subsequent representation, actually pushes the ‘truth’ of it only further from grasp.

One strand of his practice that has been shown in various permutations thus far, ‘How the Mighty have Fallen’ 2010, gravitates around the video piece ‘flies that curve fleeting geometries into the place’, which can be seen above. In this work, Duncan presents a video depiction of a forest; so tranquil it resembles a collection of still images. Only the miniscule wavering of a leaf or subtle fluctuation in hue gives it away as representative of both time and space. Accompanying the almost comprehensive stasis and impermability of the forest is the artist’s voice recalling events from his past, which begins like this: ‘I studied engineering in a college that was on a college that was on a dormant oilrig in the middle of the North Sea. Everyone smoked. If you didn’t you were considered insane, and asked to leave[i]’.

Humour, of course, is one of the most important devices in Duncan’s practice. Coupled with the artist’s flat middle-of-Ireland accent[ii], his entire body of work is suffused with a humour of a dry, reluctant kind – one that roots itself in observation, often extended to its furthermost point. By this movement, things tend to slip into the absurd: was nicotine actually a basic requirement to study there? The narrative continues in this manner, later being summoned to the dean’s chamber, and there being instructed to smoke as a means of rectifying the problem. Moving on from this, Duncan then describes being at home in ‘a large ash forest to the rear of my grandmother’s house,’ quite possibly the visual setting of the work. The narrative flits back and forth, but the question of compulsion lies central to the piece; the need to enumerate, pin down and capture the past; to gather its shards together in comprising a subjectively necessary whole. By his own admission, Duncan wishes to ‘capture everything I see. I wish to draw an infinite geometric 3D frame around all that is present[iii].’ The problem is that the past, unlike geometry, refuses to be easily reconstructed. The past, much like the flies of the forest behind his grandmother’s house, only forges ‘fleeting geometries into the place.’ It becomes irrelevant, unattainable, at the very moment of its enunciation: it is an equation that only solves one problem; once that problem is deciphered, it slips into total and irredeemable obsolescence. 



[i] Adrian Duncan (2010) flies that curve fleeting geometries into the place, available at here.

[ii]  I too suffer from this affliction, being from the middle of Ireland myself. Therefore I am in a position to point this out without any accusations of malice.

[iii] Ibid. 1


Rebecca O’Dwyer is an art writer from Ireland, currently living in Sydney, Australia. 

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Adrian Duncan is a Dublin based artist. His practice is based in sculpture, drawing, video and writing.

He studied and worked as a structural engineer, in the U.K. and Ireland for over a decade, before returning to study fine art at I.A.D.T. and subsequently an M.A. in N.C.A.D. His work, conceptually and aesthetically can be derived from this background.

For more information on Adrian Duncan please click here>>


Above:

Adrian Duncan

How the Mighty have Fallen, 2010

Video Still, duration: 5:11 mins


© All Images are courtesy of the artists.




This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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Each month SuperKaleidoscope will feature an emerging artist selected by the directors.

If you would like to make a submission please contact the SK Directors.
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