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Indepth Arts News:

"Jaki Irvine: The Silver Bridge a New Installation"
2005-12-14 until 2006-04-17
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Dublin, , IE

A major new installation work by the highly-regarded Irish artist Jaki Irvine is shown for the first time at the Irish Museum of Modern Art beginning Tuesday 13 December 2005.   The Silver Bridge, purchased by IMMA in 2004, is one of the artist’s most ambitious projects to date, comprising eight related videos which are projected simultaneously. This work had its origins in an invitation to Irvine to put forward a proposal for the 1999 Nissan Public Art Project, organised in association with IMMA, but was not completed until 2003.  Like earlier works by Irvine such as Margaret Again, 1995, also in the Museum’s Collection, The Silver Bridge engages with familiar themes and issues in Irvine’s work such as the relationships between memory and fantasy, reality and imagination, human and animal, and freedom and repression.

Shot in Dublin Zoo and other locations in the Phoenix Park and in the Natural History Museum, The Silver Bridge offers a fragmented narrative in which time and place are deeply evocative. Irvine’s love of disjointed narratives and multiple perspectives ensures that an element of surprise is maintained throughout the work, while insecurities are heightened by the rearrangement of familiar architecture involved in the installation of the piece.

Much of Irvine’s work is related to literature and The Silver Bridge is no exception. It is loosely related to the 19th-century Gothic novel, Carmilla, by Joseph Sheridan Lefanu, the story of a beautiful vampire, whose attempts to return home ultimately prove impossible. Images of isolated human presences reflect a failure to communicate and bond, except in the final film where a moment of closeness is held briefly only to be suddenly terminated. Only the deer in the park and the birds, whether massing and re-massing in the evening sky or seen up close in the bat house of Dublin Zoo, seem to enjoy the uninhibited freedom to interact with each other that their human counterparts are denied. 

A constant feature in Irvine’s films is her sensitive handling of sound and language even if, at times, they are represented by their unexpected absence. In this installation the natural sounds of the birds, echoed by the free flow of ambient sound from one video to another in the installation space, contrasts with the complete lack of verbal exchanges between the humans.

References to myth, superstition and the metaphysical are also present. The worldview revealed in Irvine’s work suggests knowledge that is only half-grasped or withheld. We are allowed to glimpse facets of the truth but never given the whole picture, a sense of the world based on the vastness of what is not known rather than the limited certainty of what is.

Born in Dublin, Jaki Irvine graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, in 1989, and from the MA Programme at Goldsmith’s College, London, in 1994. In 1995 she was one of four artists chosen to represent Britain in Young British Artists at the Venice Biennale and represented Ireland at the same event with a solo exhibition in 1997. She has been short-listed for the IMMA Glen Dimplex Artist’s Award in 1996 and the Nissan Public Art Award in 1999. She has had many solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, Australia and Japan, and in 2005 was given a residency at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. Irvine currently lives and works in Dublin.

The Silver Bridge was funded by an Arts Council Artists Bursary. It was produced by Fiach MacChongail, with the help of Debbie Behan and Paul Johnson.

Jaki Irvine
The Silver Bridge, 2003
8 part DVD installation,
Dimensions variable,
Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art

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