What is really {un}familiar?

RESEARCHES INTO out-of-body experiences, disengagement from the real self, and having a double, have inspired an exhibition which opens at the Galway Arts Centre today.

{un}familiar features work by Michelle Browne, Benjamin de Búrca, Cecilia Danell, Vera Klute, Sabina MacMahon, and Julia Pallone. It is created by the GAC’s visual arts officer Maeve Mulrennan and features works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, collage and video.

The inspiration for {un}familiar arose from Meave’s reading about the researches of Prof Olaf Blanke, at the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience in Lausanne, Switzerland, into out of body experiences, disengagement from the real self, and having a double.

Blanke’s case studies provided ideas to the artists on themes such as deconstruction of meaning, separation of the self, and efforts to understand and explain the world through imagery, icons, dreams, and nightmares.

Two of the artists taking part in the exhibition, Michelle Browne and Benjamin de Búrca, are Galwegians, while Cecilia Danell is currently based in Galway.

Michelle’s work deals with how individuals react to the environment and other people, often in a humorous and satirical way. For this exhibition she is presenting a work inspired by a childhood activity where she would try and make her mirror image look more like that of her sisters.

Benjamin de Búrca’s work uses found imagery from old paintings reprinted on an aluminium foil. His use of collage deconstructs the original intention, allowing the artist and viewers create their own meanings.

Cecilia Danell’s contribution to this exhibition is the video Doubles. It asks whether we can ever know the original from the copy. The imagery is shifting and changing and it references Jungian dream theory where the house represent different aspects of the self.

The exhibition runs until July 3. Maeve will also give a talk on the exhibition on Tuesday June 22 at 6pm.


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