THE TULCA Festival of Visual Arts 2011 kicks off on Friday next November 4. The festival will examine aspects of the recent fall-out in Ireland and internationally, by addressing artist responses to political, social, and economic collapse. Entitled ‘After the fall’ it will also consider re-imaginings of the future in the wake of these collapses. A range of well-known Irish artists will feature in this year’s programme, many of these artists engage with contentious issues in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. Tulca runs until November 20 in galleries across Galway.
Galway artist Jennifer Cunningham’s International Monetary Field Day, exhibits in the Space Invaders Gallery in the Cornstore for the duration of the festival. This new work contemplates comparisons between Ireland and Iceland, and the legacy of the ghost estate. Her work in mixed media depicts piebald horses eating old Irish punts, roaming about on ghost estates made out of Icelandic krona and Irish punts. For Cunningham, the ghost estate represents Ireland’s descent from the Celtic Tiger into a broken state crippled by economic greed.
Úna Spain’s residency in Merlin Park Hospital as part of Tulca 2011 brought the Ballinasloe artist into contact with an upgraded hospital complex that is now a state-of-the-art institution of healthcare. However amid the current economic crisis, upgrading has been stalled in many public service sectors, culminating in an environment where modern systems of operation exist in a visually dated environment. This new photographic work, Insight provides an opportunity for the viewer to engage with a site where the old and new co-exist. Insight will be on display in Galway Arts Centre throughout Tulca.
The Shell to Sea Campaign inspired artist Seamus Nolan’s Oral Hearing, a two hour long video work that frames the debate in the contentious situation of the laying of high pressure production pipelines through a small community in the west of Ireland. Nolan’s re-enactment of the debate is based on the closing statements of local residents during a public hearing in Belmullet in 2009, and features actors playing the roles of An Bord Pleanála’s inspector Martin Nolan, and the Shell lawyer Esmond King. Seamus Nolan is based in Dublin, where he is currently artist-in-residence in The Irish Museum of Modern Art. Oral Hearing will be screened four times each day in the Tulca Festival Gallery in Galway Shopping Centre.
For a full list of the plethora of workshops, talks, events, and live sound performances running throughout the festival see the printed programme or www.tulca.ie