Tuesday, 12 December 2017

AIR Artist in Residence Kunsthalle Krems Austria - Germany - Netherlands - Belgium

During the residency at Kunsthalle Krems, In Austria I devised a method of collaborating, engaging with and developing knowledge  of the contemporary art practices within Austrian galleries, artist run spaces and academic platforms. Examining the contrasts and similarities between Austrian and Irish contemporary art practices. Comparing the traditional poetic approach of much Irish art against the harsh and almost brutal practices in contemporary Austrian Art.

Throughout the residency I focused on investigating the role of art as dialogue and its use in public spaces. In particular the use of graffiti and guerrilla marketing by dissident and marginalised groups, a phenomenom I recognised very quickly while walking through Vienna. Using dialogue as a method for creating connections between myself and individuals from these groups. Discovering very quickly that they used these methods for spreading ideas, or challenging social or political issues. 


Drawing from an already established practice I documented, through moving imagery, sound and photography the types of graffiti and guerrilla marketing that I found in  cities in each of the following countries - Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium

In each city I also met with and discussed the issues affecting specific groups or Syrian and Afghanistan refugees. Namely those young men who had migrated across Europe between 2014 - 2016. 

Documenting their lives and the issues which affect the men in each city. To create a living document of these migrations through Europe. The dialogues were based on each groups use of public spaces as well as focusing on the journey and types of transport use as they migrate across Europe.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Green Carnations 2012 - 2016

Green Carnations was a solo exhibition and wider body of work which dealt with specific form of structural homophobia in Irish society. Research involved the historical and contemporary experiences of marginalised gay men in Ireland and documented the experiences of those men who will remain socially marginalised, despite the positive outcome of the same-sex referendum here in 2015.

The project involved dialogues with some of the 1,500 closeted gay men, who were questioned and blackmailed by police during the investigation into the murder of a gay man in Dublin in 1984. 

The men were question by police even though they were innocent/did not fit description of suspect and were only questioned so that the police could created a dossier of Homosexuality in Ireland at the time. The murder has never been solved

I retraced the men in 2014 and began a series of informal conversations with the men. These dialogues revolved around the public spaces the men used to meet other men. 

Referencing geo-psychology and heavily influenced by the writings of Michel Foucault on physical and emotional space. I began to explore these areas and document them through photography.

During these exploratory documentations I began to note the context specific graffiti which seemed to be in almost every space I visited. In one particular site in the Phoenix Park. I came across a bench which had been daubed in an anti homosexual slogan. I photographed the bench and returned several times over the next 4 years photographing it each time. During this four year period the bench had been painted white and re-graffiti'd seven times.

I also began to notice a lot of cigarette packets on the ground. In almost every site I visited I noticed them. They were the single material which linked all of these spaces.  

The focal point of the work and the exhibition involved a large floor installation made from the foil from these cigarette packets. I collected hundreds of packets and began to manipulate and re construct the foil. Finally settling on the motif of a polyhedron. Hundreds of these tiny gold forms were connected together in intricate patterns

These Are My People 2011 - 2017

The body of work entitled These Are my People began as a short story written after a chance encounter with a young traveller man on the Liffey boardwalk in Dublin in 2011. The full text of the short story can be seen here https://inthisnation.blogspot.co.at/2014/10/these-are-my-people.html.

in 2013 while living in Brighton, East Sussex, I began to follow and document the lives of a groups of Irish Traveller families, who used the public car parks along the south coast of England as temporary camps. I photographed and documented their lives for the short time that they stayed in the area.

During this time I was also able to document and create dialogue with a number of Irish men who had become homeless in the U.K and used the numerous shelters along Brighton' sea front to sleep in during the summer months.

Through observation and a series of dialogues with both groups I began to find similarities between their transient lifestyles and the performative action of creating temporary communities as well as observing the visual language relating to their ideas of identity and culture. The signs and signifiers which set them apart from not only each other but also the other people using these public areas.
After two and a half months of researching and documenting both groups. In one week both groups of people had disappeared. The Travellers had returned to Ireland, the Homeless men returned to cities North of Brighton. The latter could, as they told me "Never go home".

I wanted to create a visual work that would both, reference the intense and drawn out dialogical and observational process of the project, and also which acknowledged the fleeting transient nature of both groups' existence and the relationships which were built between them and I.

The works created were a series of clay heads which had all been cast from the same mold, but no two faces are the same.

A number of heads were installed in the spaces which had been occupied by either group. Over time the heads would dissolve, leaving only a faded, chalky outline on the surface where they were installed.

In 2015 I returned to Dublin and installed a series of interventions onto the board walk on the Liffey River. These involved a number of bottle caps. Which I noticed were being placed into the nuts and bolts which held the wooden beams of the boardwalk in place.

I used this very simple device to create a number of text based works using bottle caps painted white with a single letter on each one. Each installation spelled the words THESE ARE MY PEOPLE

Criminal Assets 2010 - 2017

Large diagrammatical drawing depicts the complex connections of the hundreds of men murdered between 2010 – 2017, as a direct result of their involvement with criminal gangs

The work evolved from dialogues with individuals who were connected to serious criminals in the city and the realisation that I was connected to serious criminal behaviour through my connections with these people.
The work was created for my degree show but has been an ongoing project due to the large numbers of men murdered each year


The work is usually exhibited with a series of moving images of violent acts on Irish streets, alongside carefully planned installations of found objects such as; bags used to transport heroin or the detritus left behind once drugs have been consumed or violence has taken place in public spaces.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

The State We're In

100 years after the promise of universal equality within our Proclamation, why do economic, gender, social and political disparities still exist in contemporary Irish society?
The State We’re In was a group exhibiton at MART and calls attention to issues affecting the modern social and political landscape in Ireland, through works by Mayo based artists Jo Killalea, Bryan Gerard Duffy and Conor O’Grady.


My work entitled The State we are in was shown along side a performance piece by Duffy and referenced stereotypical notions of Irish nationalism, recent political inconsistencies, and a sense of collective anomie which has been voiced by generations of Irish people. 

This moving image piece will be shown during the Kulturpreistragerlnnen NO 2017 during the Dokumentationszentrum for modern art. In St. Polten, Austria in 2017

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Some Irish Mothers

Kathleen Lynn: Outsider on the inside. 1916 Centenary Exhibition.
26 March - 24 April 2016‏

Some Irish Mothers
Conor O' Grady

The work in Some Irish Mothers  the gallery installation, QR posters and interventions series, are the culmination of research into lack of recognition of the role and influence of women during significant periods of Irish history, especially the 1916 Easter Rising.  Focusing particularly on the lack of effective change in the lives of women, especially in relation to contemporary Ireland.

The installation is included in the Mayo Collaborative Group Exhibition, Kathleen Lynn: Outsider on the Inside. A series of 1916 centenary exhibitions by thirteen artists in five galleries around County Mayo from 26 March - 24 April 2016

Some Irish Mothers: The Birth of a Nation 1916

The exhibition at the Linenhall Arts Centre features a sculptural installation entitled The Birth of a Nation 1916 and has been based on the footage and in particular the structural aspects of the clothes-line shown above.

Each clothes-peg featured in the installation has printed on them, the names of over 220 women who played a significant role within the 1916 Easter Rising.The works in this project reference the lack change for women over the past one hundred years, especially in terms of the roles women are expected to assume.

Some Irish Mothers: A Quiet Revolution:

The footage represented in this work are re-appropriated from an ESB documentary, which has been taken from a YouTube clip entitled Rural Electrification and depicts some of the first electricity poles being erected in Ireland. The imagery has been appropriated to represent male, industrial processes and social structures which promote gender disparity. The original footage can be found here.  

The moving images are projected in the gallery space and accompanied by a clothes-line installation. You can find more information about the installation here

The Linenhall Arts Centre installation and this online presence are meant to act as three aspects of the same work, each element informing the next, allowing the viewer to control their experience of the work being viewed.

The QR Code allows you to react to a still image in a traditional way, however, once you scan it with your mobile device, you begin to engage with the work in a light of technological modernitiy. The experience can be self-directed or simply used as a device for engaging with the work, a little further.

QR Poster Campaign:

Examples of Images used in poster-campaign which accompanies each element of the project.