Death Drive exhibition at the Galway Arts Centre

Death Drive is a group exhibition by four artists; Vanessa Donoso Lopez, Stine Marie Jacobsen, Maximilian Le Cain, and Siobhán McGibbon.

The exhibition, curated by Maeve Mulrennan, takes place at the Galway Arts Centre from September 7 to October 5 with an opening reception on Friday September 6 at 6pm.

The artists were invited to explore the idea of Freud’s death drive theory within their practices. Freud’s theory claimed that each person has a drive towards becoming an inorganic state; it is what pushes us into reimagining and re-enacting traumas either literally or through our relationships with other people and places throughout our lifetimes. For this exhibition, Donoso Lopez, Le Cain, Jacobsen, and McGibbon were specifically asked to consider the actions of repetition and re-enactment as forms of dealing with trauma and traumatic memories. This connects to the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s theory on the death drive in children, with her focus concentrating on the recurring patterns that emerge through play and on the underpinning anxieties that this indicates.

Each artist in this exhibition investigates the presence of the human and its relation to site and personal experience, and how experience, memory, and distortion affect the self. Stine Marie Jacobsen’s text work follows a ‘reenactment versus remembering’ line of enquiry, regarding the conflict between memory and the cinematic. Jacobsen’s current practice humorously takes on the most serious and dark issues of the human psyche, using the mediums of video, performance, photography, drawing, writing, and curating. Key themes in her work are cinema, death and violence, gender, and anonymity. Her text discusses the perceived notion of memory being like a cinematic narrative and how this has been disproven.

Vanessa Donoso Lopez’ work uses the process of children’s play and experimentation as a starting point. “I live struggling with language and cultural barriers, purposefully removed and often isolated. To get over this apparently self imposed trauma, I create, in a repetitive way, transitional objects and explore concepts of transitional phenomena,” says the Spanish born, Dublin based, artist. As well as an interest in Melanie Klein, Donoso Lopez also draws on psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott’s theory based on a phenomenon commonly observed: early adoption and fierce possession by children of an object.

Speaking of his process in relation to this exhibition, Cork based film maker Maximilian Le Cain states; “Most of my editing work is done at night. These works I make are nocturnal. There is the body and then there is the night. There are limits, failures, and overwhelming sensations. It is at the obscure intersection of all these that I jot down my audio-visual sketches. Imagine a cinema that makes space stutter, light gaseous, and time circular. These aesthetics of interruption functions as a vehicle or catalyst for externalizing pulses, anxieties, desires.”

Galway based artist Siobhán McGibbon is currently investigating what she calls ‘the future of normal’. She has a keen interest in the diagnosis and treatment of perceived abnormalities. This research is contextualized by narratives of real people, such as Jose Mestre, a man with an 11lb haemangioma tumour on his face and Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, the world’s oldest conjoined twins.

Death Drive runs from September 6 to October 5 in Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street. For more information on each artist visit,,, and


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