Clodagh Emoe at Project

Cult of Engagement

solo exhibition: Clodagh Emoe at Project

18 December 2009 – 30 January 2010

Cult of Engagement, a new solo exhibition by GradCAM Research Scholar, Clodagh Emoe opens at Project Arts Centre on Thursday 17 December at 6pm.

Clodagh Emoe’s new 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

Engagement talks and lectures in January 2010, in collaboration with GradCAM.

We are grateful to Fire Station Artists’ Studios, IADT and DIT for their production support, with particular thanks to Liam Sharkey and John Travers. The artist also wishes to give special thanks to Edia Connole and The Event Research Group, Yvette Monaghan, Sean Breithaupt and Cormac Browne.

Christmas opening hours:
Mon 21 and Tues 22 DEC open 11am – 6pm
Closed 23 DEC – 1 JAN
Sat 2 JAN open 11am – 6pm
Mon 4 JAN normal opening hours resume

Project Arts Centre | 39 East Essex Street | Temple Bar | Dublin 2 | Ireland
+353 1 881 9613 | |
Gallery open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 8pm

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