Mermaid Arts Centre, 21st Aug – 17th Oct – 2010

Artists’ Conversation: Damien Flood & Alan Butler, Thus 26 Aug, 7pm, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray

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Damien Flood and Alan Butler’s Castles in the sky is the first in a rotating series of exhibitions in the  project called Unbuilding, at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray. Unbuilding is an experimental visual arts project composed of 11 new commissions, an architectural intervention, screenings, international guests, local discussion and off-site events.

On Thursday 26th August at 7pm, at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Flood and Butler will be in conversation with other artists and curators.

Castles in the Sky, Damien Flood and Alan Butler, 21st August – 29th August, 2010, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray.

The back-story to this collaboration began eight months ago as a conversation between two friends and colleagues. Over that period, Damien Flood and Alan Butler have made work, in and around this conversation, one which pivoted on a shared understanding of ‘the tension between childhood dreams and failed, present-day utopias’. The audience can pick up on bit-parts of the conversation between the two artists in the popular and sub-cultural referencing, that was so theatrically potent in the 1980’s, and still has a hold on Flood and Butler’s generation.

The artists have both created individual works alongside their collective pieces. Flood traces the space with paintings of domed shapes, which off-set the the obtuse and acute angled architecture of the built environment. The paintings could be dreamed utopias, celestial resting places removed from cluttered technology. His cardboard ‘Babel’ tower on a glass plinth, sets up Butler’s video ruminations on religion and technology. In Butler’s manipulated videos (which are in keeping with the colourful media self -promotion of nondenominational church movements), the artist references religious icon, The Dalai Lama, and his sub-cultural equivalent, Marshall Applewhite, of the American Religious Group – Heaven’s Gate.1

References to the film Blade Runner, which has been an important signifier for the failure of  boyhood dreamt realities for the two artists, can be heard in the appropriation of the unreleased music from the film soundtrack. The audio emanates from the collaberative work Fortune City, pervading the space with sombre tones.

Coming together, Flood and Butler’s Mighty Dragon, Rolling City of Tomorrow, with model landscape on board, symbolises an energetic, child-like start, which will inevitably slow down and stop; with age the Promise is broken.

Text: James Merrigan

1 In 1997, the year of the comet Hale-Bopp, 39 members of Heaven’s Gate, committed suicide, along with their leader.

Castles in the Sky, Damien Flood and Alan Butler, Mermaid Arts Centre, August 21st, 2010.

Castles in the Sky, Damien Flood (FRONT) and Alan Butler (BACK), Mermaid Arts Centre, August 21st, 2010.


Written by James Merrigan

August 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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