NCAD Graduates mark homecoming with daring multiplatform art exhibition

NCAD gallery Credit: Kate Bowe O'Brien

NCAD gallery Credit: Kate Bowe O’Brien

NCAD Gallery welcomed back two NCAD graduates, Hannah Fitz and Daniel Tuomey, who have collaborated to present ‘Bored with a Hole’, an exhibition of sculptures, audio, video and images.

The exhibition features failure and loss as its central theme and the sculptures entice you to look at what’s missing as opposed to what you can see. Hannah Fitz, who has a degree in Fine Art – Sculpture, said, “When you’re making sculptures, you’re pointing to the bits that aren’t included in the sculpture, so the first thing one notices on approach to Dan’s table are the holes. You’re approaching the negative space. I think all sculptures point to a negative space and point to the loss, so being unfinished or feeling it’s not entirely containing everything is definitely an important part of the sculpture.”

The pair have worked together before as part of Basic Space, a Contemporary Art Practice Group, where they were part of a larger exhibition, but this is the first time they’ve worked as a duo.

The project was made all the more special by bringing it to their “home ground”.

NCAD was the birthplace of their relationship and despite four years passing and Daniel currently living in Rotterdam, they came together to bring the exhibition to NCAD Gallery because they “care about the students a lot”.

That being said, coming “home” isn’t a safe option at all. They put pressure on themselves to produce something they are happy with because, as Hannah says, “the audience here who are within the college are incredibly exciting, challenging and critical.” They want the students and other visitors to take something away from the exhibition, whether it be an idea or a critique to develop their artistic mind even more.

When asked what she was proud of she replied, “It’s the work you’re exhibiting and how people read it, not the accomplishment of having an exhibition.”

The NCAD Gallery has a large window that faces out onto the busy Thomas Street which has its advantages but also comes with a lot of problems for any artists exhibiting there. The window allows for more exposure to the artwork and numerous passers-by stop and take the opportunity to view what’s inside. However, there are awkward challenges to negotiate because of it.

Hannah and Daniel knew there would be issues surrounding the gallery because of how it was designed. “I was worried about the gallery space, it’s a really unusual gallery space because it’s shaped for the window, it’s wide at the front and then gets smaller so it’s like you’re in an optical illusion. The window is quite a heavy thing to have in a gallery. It’s a huge sheet of glass and you’ve got the fishbowl effect going on so everyone installing there has to think about that window and how they’re going to approach it or if they are going to ignore it or play up to it.” Hannah said.

Between them they had to decide whether or not to use the space as it is or to get creative and think of a way to re-shape the gallery. Both of them were interested in setting out a fictional floor space and they managed to do so by simply painting.

“We painted the floor, we created a fictional floor space by shifting the floor paint and having the wall paint coming down on to the ground at a certain point; so we’ve added a new corner to the room.”

NCAD gallery Credit: Kate Bowe O'Brien

NCAD gallery Credit: Kate Bowe O’Brien

The sculptures are scattered around the gallery and digital prints climb up the walls like they are trying to hide; one or two may have gone unnoticed if there wasn’t a map of the gallery. Sound is also a big part of the exhibition. There are two amplifiers on either side of the gallery that produce voices that talk in turn, but it’s not random. There are two microphones close to certain sculptures that are connected to the amps so it appears the voices produced from the amps are coming from the sculptures. That is not the only purpose of having microphones. “They present you with the thought of ‘maybe this is for a voice to go into it’.”

Failures and losses are the theme of the artwork and the emotions are represented through the different pieces. Having microphones on shows that visitors are encouraged to voice their own failures and losses without actually speaking through the microphones.

‘Bored with a Hole’ has given Hannah the opportunity to experience and try new avenues in Art. Not only is it her first two person show but she also used a different approach when making her sculpture. “Usually if I have a sculpture I’ll have 11 parts or 7 parts so having one with three pieces in it that are disconnected physically, but essentially are one form, is new for me and I think it’s going to continue for a while.”

The disconnection of the voice from the human body and half formed bodies is something that both Hannah and Dan attempt to convey and something they share an interest in. They decided everything in the gallery would be something they both care.

“The exciting thing about exhibitions is I’d love to do it all again now. Take another five months and do another development of this project. I also think this place challenged me.”

‘Bored with a Hole’ continues in NCAD Gallery until Wednesday 26th October 2016. Gallery opening hours are 1pm – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

By Shane McGannon

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