(the site + ruin)

Solo exhibition by Robert Dunne

4 mins read


Saturday 10 April – Saturday 1 May 2021
76-77 John Street Lower, Kilkenny

What is the significance of a place promoting its past?
What is the relevance of being aligned with our history now?

The Site + Ruin Video Link

Kilkenny is a place that identifies strongly with its history, captivating the outsider’s eye with its prominent heritage and evident past. History is embedded in the architecture of the city, time is told through exposed stone and residual traces. For Kilkenny’s locals it is a destination to complete errands — a scope for mundanity — and a space for lived experience. This means it must adapt and evolve to facilitate modern day living; the new bus route navigates the narrowness of its streets and the building of bridges eases access and accommodates the increase of traffic.

Rebecca Solnit suggests in the Book of Migration that a place can exist in two different ways: exotic and local. “The exotic is a casual acquaintance who must win hearts through charm and beauty and site of historical interest,’ she says, ‘but the local is made up of the accretion of individual memory and sustenance, the maternal landscape of uneventful routine.” This approach of using the “exotic” or intrigued perspective within a familiar context can possibly offer a fresh cognizance of the mundane and ordinary.

(the site + ruin) is a solo exhibition by artist Robert Dunne. Dunne’s practice looks at normal elements in our lived environments, extracting the typical from the unseen everyday. Through the process of making, he questions our imprint of time and need. Things become altered and changed, yet, reinterpreted in a common language of materiality

— permitting the residual traces to cite their known use and origin. In response to Kilkenny as a place, Dunne is drawn to the evidence of process shown in the development of the city, this is continuously conveyed through its structure and materiality. When a local becomes a voyeur in their hometown, an awareness can be drawn to things that have been blended into the banal.

Robert Dunne lives in Co. Kilkenny and works mainly with plaster and used wood, he says his work “is a way to reframe our ‘made’ environment. I try to capture physical and visual elements of my surroundings and reimagine, juxtapose and alter their structure and meaning to make new and vaguely familiar scenarios”.

He has exhibited throughout Europe, USA and Australia and has had solo shows in Theca Gallery, Milan, Italy, Linenhall Art Centre, Mayo, Pallas Studios, Dublin and Kilkenny Arts Festival. In 2019 he exhibited in the group show Far From Here at The Complex, Dublin and Reviving Plains, a joint show, with Stephanie McGowan at the 126 Gallery, Galway. Selected group shows include Periodical Review No.8, Pallas Studios, Winter Open, RUA RED, Artworks, VISUAL, Carlow, PeripheriesOPEN, Peripheries Space, Biennale Internationale d’art non objectif, France and Combined, Gray Contemporary Houston.
He studied in the Cleveland Institute of Art, School of the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and received his BFA from the National College of Art and Design. He has received awards from the Arts Council of Ireland as well as studio residency awards including, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Arthouse, Laois.
(the site + ruin) is the second exhibition of the Kilkenny County Council Arts Office’s Emerging Curator in Residence 2020.

This programme is funded by Kilkenny County Council Arts Office, the Arts Council of Ireland and supported by Rothe House.

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