The curators of the exhibition Anya von Gosseln and Catherine Bowe, of HERE/THERE, follow a particular brief with this exhibition: to facilitate a frequent cultural exchange between
Germany and Ireland featuring mainly younger, emerging contemporary artists.
This exhibition places Byrne and Farrelly‘s solo practices alongside each other. Spanning a generous range of works, the exhibition goes from Farrelly‘s mail art and ‚administrative compositions`, through Byrne‘s flag-portraits and self portraits. Rather than fake a neat thematic thread through the two very different practices – the show presents the two artists in parallel, colliding in their collaborative film work. The lynch-pin of the exhibition – and its title – is an excerpt from their work in progress, a feature length film: Glue.
In Glue, Farrelly is in the lead role, and Byrne is director. Through the disjointed narrative of the film, a strange zone of neither/or and either/nor is brought into play, constantly
changing tack from the permissive to the instructional. An excerpt from the film work, with German subtitles, is shown in here in Wuppertal. The subtitle translation, made by curator Anya vonGosseln, is into vernacular German – attempting to keep the richness, strangeness and humour of the film dialogue.
Byrne‘s concern, through the cloth portraits and the film work, is with intimacy: with the delineation of intimate space; its boundaries and its rules; in emotional hygiene; in easy intimacy and its easy breakage. Farrelly‘s brings the bodily into the bureaucratic – allowing and implicating postal workers in an unknowing intimacy with the surface of his artworks, as well as performing his own ticketed bureaucracy of self measurement.
Two other qualities unite the work. The first is a manual fixation; a polymorphic perversity. Both artists indulge in a pleasure in making, and in machines of production. This is tempered with a tendency towards humour, both linguistic and visual – of labour and of taste. There is an atmosphere of crap glamour and DIY decadence: an unpacking of taste and its tyranny.
Oisin Byrne, 2015