Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown


Scenes From etc.

February 2009: Scenes From Moving Deaths




images: Gavin Murphy “Scenes From Moving Deaths” installation images + details

For his series of works entitled Moving Deaths, Irish artist Gavin Murphy invokes a web spun from various sources – Ludwig Boltzmann’s theories relating to entropy and probability; the doodles of pioneering film distributor W.W. Hodkinson; man (and art’s) relationship with nature; texts by or found in, Delmore Schwartz, Milan Kundera, Nietzsche, and Montaigne; and the plastic possibilities of cinematic structures and mise en scène. As a dialogue between generations of thought and representation, the work is formed upon meandering connections, yet is as much about the removal of the links between things.

The selection of works presented at I.C.A.N. in Scenes from Moving Deaths are related through an essayistic form of unique fabricated elements, found objects and reclaimed materials; video, text and photography. Carefully setting up a series of playful oppositions, Murphy’s aesthetic methodology relies on prior knowledge, yet eschews any attempt toward the didactic. His work betrays a compulsive need to create structure and order, while at the same time giving in to the notion that these very actions are futile, thus it celebrates the inevitable uncertainty that is, in a post-enlightenment world, the reward of investigation.

Murphy’s practice draws from an intertextual palette, combining the fictive and the factual, literature and philosophical thought, in order to pose concerns regarding time, existence, the history of ideas, and the future of said history. The piece Monument to W.W. Hodkinson for example portrays a universally recognised, yet fictional landscape – the Paramount Studios logo. This, Murphy explains, was originally sketched out on a dinner napkin complete with a ring of stars by the studios’ founder. Hodkinson, who based the image on the memory of a mountain from his Utah home, was later fired from Paramount and slipped into obscurity, yet the model of film distribution that he introduced became the standard that has existed with few changes for almost a century. Now, the logotype and stars have been painstakingly erased to reveal the original memory – a monument to its creator, and to the permanence of the image and system he created.

Gavin Murphy completed his Diploma in Art in 1996, Degree in Interactive Media in 2002, and MA in Visual Arts Practice in 2007, all with IADT, Dublin. He has had solo exhibitions with The Lab in 2008, and Four gallery, in 2006;  recent group shows include the 3-person show Frontier with Dublin gallery Green on Red, in 2008; and with UK gallery Colony, in their Birmingham space and at Zoo Art Fair, London, both 2007. He is the recipient of various awards including an Arts Council Bursary Award (2008), and a residency at Fire Station Artists’ Studios (from June 2009). He is co-curator of the art space Pallas Contemporary Projects and was co-coordinator of House Projects – a series of seven exhibitions in New York, London and Ireland, and was editor of the publication of the same name. He will exhibit at Conical, Melbourne, in March 2009, followed by a residency at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces.




Written by ICAN

August 24, 2017 at 11:58