Rossella Biscotti , Elaine Hoey, Gulsun Karamustafa, Naiza Khan, Eoin McHugh, Cengiz Tekin, Sarah Wood, Jack Butler Yeats

“Homelessness is coming to be the destiny of the world”
Martin Heidegger, 1946

Turbulence is a major exhibition that explores the way in which contemporary artists are responding to the refugee crisis today. Turbulence, which takes key works by Jack Butler Yeats as it’s point of departure, considers the movement of people in today’s world, against the backdrop of shifting contemporary perspectives on post-colonialism, socio-politics, hospitality and humanity.

Jack Butler Yeats was deeply affected by the displacement of people after WWII and created a number of important allegorical paintings including The Last Dawn but One, 1948 and Men of Destiny, 1946, which are both on view in The Niland Gallery as part of this exhibition. The Last Dawn but One, according to the critic Brian O’Doherty depicts “circus folk pulling up and moving on, like refugees on their post-war migrations across Europe,” while Men of Destiny presents a small group of figures arriving in a new land with “intimations of abandonment and strife” they have left behind.

The exhibition opens out to survey a number of significant artists whose work is predominantly concerned with the refugee crisis that faces contemporary society. Rossella Biscotti’s ambitious work The Journey, 2016 which can be seen in the East Gallery, is the result of geopolitical research into an area of the Mediterranean sea between Italy, Tunisia, Libya and Malta. The Journey takes the form of a series of maps showing various layers of information, including data on shipwrecks, underwater cables, military control on borders and license agreements between electric and oil companies. Elaine Hoey’s acclaimed work The Weight of Water, 2016, an interactive virtual reality installation that appropriates gaming technology to explore the unfolding refugee crisis, is on view on the West Gallery. Gülsün Karamustafa’s long and celebrated artistic practice has as a central concern the enforced movement of people. Karamustafa is represented in this exhibition with three works, The Settler, 2005, The Courier (the Other Side of the River, 1994 and Heimat ist wo man isst, 1994.)

Naiza Khan’s lyrical meditation on the fragility of peace, and our relationship with the sea, Near and Far Sights/Sites Converge, 2014 can be seen alongside a series of watercolours entitled Objects from the Deep, 2016. Two films by Cengiz Tekin draw attention to the profound challenges faced by refugees, while Life Jacket, a marble sculpture – not unlike a tombstone – references the needless loss of life at sea of those who are forced to flee. Eoin McHugh’s enigmatic work Once Part of a Living Body, 2016, calls to mind romantic aspects of travelling suggested by magic carpets of lore, while at the same time something more sinister is conjured by the title. The exhibition closes with the Irish premier of Sarah Wood’s profound and provocative film essay Boat People, 2016. The film brings us back to Heidegger’s prediction about ‘homelessness’, which was made in the direct aftermath of WWII, at the same time that Jack B Yeats was painting these important allegorical works. In this film Wood considers whether “Sixty years on, with the escalating movement of people escaping conflict and environmental catastrophe across the world, has Heidegger’s prediction come true? Has homelessness become the norm rather than the exception?”

Curated by Emer McGarry

Turbulence Project Team – Emer McGarry, Heike Thiele, Marie Louise Blaney and Christian Reeves

Plug In programme: Throughout the duration of Turbulence, we will present three short exhibitions in the Process Room that explore divergent ideas around movement and travel in the contemporary world.

Turbulence is kindly supported by Ecclesiastical Insurance; RTE Supporting the Arts; and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s Mobility of Collections Scheme.

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