As part of Active Archive – Slow Institution: The Long Goodbye on 23 February the gallery will host a special event focusing on two projects that were commissioned by Project Arts Centre as part of the Off Site visual arts programme (1998-1999). Sandra Johnston and Ronan McCrea will present moving image and photographic materials about these works and will be joined in conversation by writer and curator Valerie Connor who worked with both artists on their projects.
Reserved (1998) by Sandra Johnston was the 3rd project in the Off Site visual arts programme. Over two evenings, people took a lift from a hotel lobby to its roof-top to spend time with the artist as she performed a series of actions. As each small group was returned to the warm lobby another would be brought up in the guest lift. While waiting to go to the roof people were seated in a comfortably furnished area. Videos monitors played recordings made by the artist during a stay alone in one of the hotel rooms. At the request of the artist, the room had been left uncleaned after the previous occupant.
On the roof, objects were arranged by the artist. These that set out the space – some objects were found and others made: chairs, make-shift screen, video projection, gas-fired burner, bitumen tar, lights. The artist moved freely across the roof. The weather was wintery and the night air was cold.
Reserved by Sandra Johnston ran on the evenings of 11th and 12th November 1998.
View (1999) by Ronan McCrea was the 9th project in the Off Site visual arts programme.
A single image. No caption. A photograph taken on the bend of a road. As the tarmac curves away, your eye falls on the buildings in the far distance. There are two clusters of buildings. One is a halting site. The other is a prison. This area is to the West of Dublin city.
200 posters were printed and at the discretion of the official poster company who runs these billboard spaces the posters were distributed around Dublin city centre. Looking at the artist’s photographs of these in situ, it is common to see these poster sites located on shopfronts or housing that has been painted black in an attempt to make ‘flat’ background that would recede from the eye and attention of passers-by. The intention is that the commercial poster sites, with a variety of graphics and images, framed in the company’s livery and displaying their logo push forward to catch attention.
View by Ronan McCrea was distributed and displayed Irish Poster Advertising on sites from 30th August until 12th September 1999.
Texts by Valerie Connor
OFF Site visual arts programme, 1998-1999
The OFF Site visual arts programme ran for two years, in 1998 and 1998, while the current Project Arts Centre building was under construction. The artists who presented new work commissioned for the OFF Site programme were Tony Patrickson, Dorothy Cross, Pete Smithson, Sandra Johnston and work-seth/tallentire (all in 1998) and Paddy Jolley (now deceased), Tina O’Connell, Fergus Kelly, Ronan McCrea and Daniel Jewesbury (all in 1999). The OFF Site programme took place at locations around Dublin with the exception of Dorothy Cross, whose project took place in Salthill, Galway and Tony Patrickson, who made an interactive CD-Rom, Fergus Kelly, who made a CD, however these were launched in Dublin at city centre venues.
‘Public Viewing 1 with Sandra Johnston and Ronan McCrea’, 23 February, 2019
Photo: Lívia Páldi
Sandra Johnston is a visual artist from Northern Ireland active internationally since 1992, working predominantly in the areas of site-responsive performance and installation. Her actions have often involved exploring the aftermath of trauma through developing acts of commemoration as forms of testimony and empathetic encounter. She has held various teaching and research posts and currently is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the Northumbria University, Newcastle. Her practice-based investigation into issues of ‘trauma of place’ were extended as a PhD project entitled – Beyond Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation of Doubt, Risk and Testimony Through Performance Art Processes in Relation to Systems of Legal Justice published in 2013 with LIT (Berlin). She has been a co-founder and committee member of various artist-run collectives in Belfast, notably: CATALYST ARTS and BBEYOND. Some of her most recent performances and projects include: Here-to-Here, Notwithstanding, Fierce Festival 2019, Birmingham, UK (upcoming); The Biennial of Curitiba and p.ARTE Festival 2019 – Curitiba, Southern Brazil (upcoming); Asiatopia 20th Performance Festival, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok, Thailand (2018), Live Action 13, Gothenburg, Sweden (2018), Minimal, Poor, Present, as part of Glasgow International 2018, Scotland (2018), We Shout and Shout, But No One Listens: Art from Conflict Zones, CAMP/ Center for Art on Migration Politics, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017), Rise Up: Ending Racism, Poverty and War, part of Freedom City Newcastle upon Tyne, England (2017), Future Histories, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin (2016), Border Crossings, SASA Gallery, Adelaide, Australia (2016), Lay Allude, with Alastair MacLennan, Bòlit Museum, Girona, Spain (2016), Tangible Live, EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland (2015), VIVA! Art Action, Montréal, Canada (2015).
Performance workshops solo, or with Alastair MacLennan: Diàleg Obert / Teatre El Musical, Valencia, Spain (2019); Interval °9 eXtended, Oberhausen, Germany (2017), Days of Performance Art in lviv, Ukraine (2015 & 2017), CREATurE Festival, Kaunas, Lithuania (2016).
In his installations and exhibitions Ronan McCrea stages encounters between the rhetoric of the photographic image and various historical resonances, symbolic social spaces, and institutional formations. His solo exhibitions and projects include Temple Bar Gallery+Studio (2019); Green on Red Gallery, Dublin (2016/2013/2011); Enclave Gallery, London (2014); School Play public art project (2008); Gallery for One/Goethe-Institut Dublin (2007); The Twentieth Century public art project (2005); Galway Arts Centre (2004); Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2003); Glassbox Paris (2002), Expo 2000, Hanover (2000); Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin [with Paul O’Neill] (2000); Context Gallery, Derry (1998); Pearse Museum, Dublin (1994).
In 2005 McCrea was one of seven artists who represented Ireland at the 51st Venice Biennale. Other group exhibitions include MAC International, MAC Gallery, Belfast (2018), An Act of Hospitality can only be Poetic Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland 2018We Are Center, CCS Bard College, New York (2016), We are (Epi)center, P! Gallery, New York, Fragments, IMMA Dublin (2015), Exiles, Lab Gallery Dublin 2013, Last Day, Cartel London (2012), To Pay Respect to the Generosity of the Three-Minute Punk-Rock Song, Crate Project Space Margate (2011), Gracelands, Co. Leitrem (2011), We are Grammar, Pratt Manhatten Gallery, NY,(2011), Sinopale 3, Sinop, Turkey (2010), School Days, Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2010-11); Moving Buildings, Cobra Museum, Amstellveen (2011), Coalcese: Happenstance, Smart Project Space, Amsterdam (2009); Nameless Science, Apexart, NY (2008); Red White Blue, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, NY (2005); La-La Land, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2005) No-one else brings me the colours that you bring, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, 2004; Permaculture, Project Arts Centre (2003); Grayscale/CMYK, Tramway, Glasgow (2002); A Timely Place… London Print Gallery, London (2001).
Ronan McCrea studied at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin, holds a PhD from University of Ulster and is currently Lecturer in Fine Art at Dublin Institute of Technology (D.I.T.) He is represented by Green on Red Gallery, Dublin.
Project Arts Centre is proud to be supported by the Arts Council Ireland and Dublin City Council.