Rubicon Projects - TOM MOLLOY
ETE 78 welcomes:
Josephine Kelliher | Cate Kelliher – Rubicon Projects | Rubicon Gallery
TOM MOLLOY: STAY HUMAN
VERNISSAGE: Friday 12th September 2014, 18:00-21:00
VISITS: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 14:00-19:00 and by Appointment
CONTACT: Josephine Kelliher +32/ 487 20 46 38 and +353/ 86 239 38 19 and firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.” George Orwell ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’
In our increasingly fractured and fractious age, where political and personal conflicts are rife, what is the most appropriate role for the artist? Should artists work to distract and beguile our minds away from the most pressing global issues? Or to draw attention to them in such a way that we consider our own roles and the way we live now; to make work that is both political and Political – in the personal and the public senses of the word?
Tom Molloy is firmly in the latter camp, and Rubicon Projects are delighted to present his most recent body of work in Brussels, a city at the political heart of Europe. But, of course, it’s more complicated than that. The best artists make work that is never simple, never just one thing or the other. Molloy’s work is also beguilingly brilliant, often beautiful, meticulously crafted by the artist, and exquisitely realised across sculpture, drawing, collage and occasionally lens-based work.
Widely collected and exhibited in Europe and the USA, Molloy bases most of his imagery on existing or found material. That is to say, he takes real subject matter, readily accessible and often widely distributed: news material from the Internet, historical imagery from the art world, or information of general socio-economic interest. These sources, he then sublimates into art objects that address the predicaments of ordinary people whose lives are radically affected by events over which they may have no power and often little understanding.
Tom Molloy impartially examines issues otherwise mired in subjectivity, he presents imagery in a sombre, neutral tone. He gives us facts, and leaves us to consider for ourselves their implications. Tom Molloy allows no room for indifference or willfull ignorance. Looking at these works then implicates us: do we participate passively by ignoring, or do we galvanise ourselves to intervention, actions, a new refusal to ignore. This might imply an aggressive polemic to Molloy’s aesthetic, but what we are met with instead is subtlety.
Borderline is a white-painted globe, all nations erased save for the lines of their land borders, in that way, only what separates us is made visible, only what has been imposed by man on the planet. Sheet sees a similar white-out process, this time of a page of German postage stamps from the 1930s, which depicted Adolf Hitler. Molloy has excluded all visual information except for the names of the artists, the engraver and the printworks, which appear on the bottom, those citizens who “were only doing their jobs”.
Stay Human, after which the artist has titled this exhibition, is the first work that one encounters. The sparse Arabic lettering on the windows of ETE78 in the smart area of Ixelles, is a facsimile of a piece of graffiti once found in Gaza, Palestine. The graffiti was attributed to Vittorio Arrigoni (1975-2011), an Italian reporter, writer, pacifist and activist and it is based on a quotation from George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four”. Similarly Candidate, depicts other acts of unauthorized public interventions, vandalism or public protest. This is a looped video that simply documents 50 individual electoral posters for Marine Le Pen, representative of Front National (FN), all photographed in situ in the city of Rouen during the 2012 French presidential election.
A key work in the installation, Untitled, presents 1,000 small coloured photographs, downloaded from the Internet, except the images aren’t of the famous and infamous; instead they are the literally “untitled”, the outsiders within society: refugees, heroin users, homeless people, prostitutes, child labourers, famine victims. These small fragile paper renderings are a collective cry for attention, from a source we may have become deaf to – until Molloy chose to bring them here, to this place, under our very eyes: unignorable, and unmissable.
Tom Molloy was born in Ireland in 1964 and he now lives and works in France. He has had major solo exhibitions at institutions including the Aldrich Museum (Connecticut), FLAG Art Foundation (New York) USA, and both Solstice Art Centre and Limerick City Gallery, Ireland. He was included in the following collective projects; 2014 Small, The Drawing Center, New York, and Monument, Musee des Beaux-Art de Calais, France; 2013 Moscow Biennale, Russia (curator Catherine de Zegher); 2012 Newtopia: The State of the Human Rights, Mechelen, Belgium (curator Katarina Gregos); 2011 Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (curator Suzanne Cotter). His work is in several Private Collections worldwide and the permanent collections of the Irish Museum of Art (Dublin); The Arts Council (Ireland); Blanton Museum of Art (Austin); Collection FRAC-Piemonte, Italy; FRAC-Haute Normandie, Rouen, France; and Princeton University Art Museum, USA.