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Indepth Arts News:

"Cult of Engagement : Clodagh Emoe"
2009-12-18 until 0000-00-00
Project Arts Centre
Dublin, , IE Ireland

Clodagh Emoe's solo exhibition Cult of Engagement continues her pre-occupation with mapping the in-between space which she manifests through her drawings, sculptural objects, installation, video works and events. If there was to be one overseeing eye which has been watching the chorus, stage and audience of Clodagh Emoe's Cult of Engagement, it would be spirit of the cross-roads, Papa Legba.

The gathered elements within the exhibition - 'The Approach', 'Azimuth' and 'Parados' - may appear to take historically recognisable roles; a stage resembling travelling adaptations of Greek Theatre during the twilight of its form, or the Chorus, looming out of the semi-darkness, echoing an ancient role of revelation and discourse. Papa Legba, who was called upon to open communications between the deities and the people, was able to speak all known languages and controlled the doorway of communication at the spiritual crossroads. Some of this attitude has found its place in Emoe's atmospheric installation, which at once reveals a route of procession and at the same time removes any presence of performance. If one were to enter through 'The Approach' - a large, perforated curtain - and call to Papa Legba for advice, the silence of his reply would only heighten the unnerving sense of expectation in the room, an expectation underlined by a low, reverberating, sound.

This sound which fills the room is part of the event approach to exhibition making that Emoe has followed in the months leading towards her newly commissioned solo exhibition at Project Arts Centre, attempting to create a space where something is bound to take place. The artist has been informed by a history of ritualistic induction and theatrical devices as channels that can herald a community as something other than a limited audience. 'Azimuth', a round, wooden stage with carved and stained markings are flanked by a by series of flags - petrified as monuments of kairos, a concept used by the ancient Greeks to describe time that is neither chronological nor representable, but that spans an event or action. The markings on this stage remind us of the messages and meaning that are meant to be delivered to a spectator, beyond the capabilities of human perception. Through aerial archaeology we can listen to the thoughts of the past, with marks made on the land still speaking in supplication to the unknown greatness of whatever was thought to be watching. This is the context into which an unannounced chorus emerges slowly out of the twilight of the magic hour, becoming present in the space where we least expect them.

In the early days of Greek tragedy the Chorus would enter the space of theatre through the paradoi, stage-flanking processional routes. They had evolved from the Dithyrambic chorus, who were a band of transformed people, for whom social histories and civic positions were consciously and entirely forgotten in the worship of Dionysus. As Greek tragedy developed, the role of the chorus moved to the periphery of the activity, although their position became more influential. They were a united body, able to reveal elements of truth, unknown as yet by the actors themselves. Thus the chorus were the eyes and the mirror of the audience, able to see in, around, and through the action taking place on the stage. 'Parados', the chorus of Cult of Engagement , has a more ambiguous character - it is united in silence and like an unreadable congregation, indecipherable in its purpose - neither revealing, nor concealing.

Clodagh Emoe is a Dublin-based artist and research scholar at The Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media.

Curated by Tessa Giblin

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