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10th & 11th DECEMBER 04

Artist as Traveller is a seminar including travelling exhibition “Trunk Show’. Through talks and panel discussions with artists, architects, curators, academics and others the seminar asks what it means for the artist to be on the move or not?

The quasi-nomadic practice of contemporary artists might be considered as ‘part of the rules of the {art} game’, enabling the artist to operate within an international arena.  The growing number of Biennials and international art exhibitions supports the artist working within a global economy.    But there is another type of practice evident, one, which has developed from models of site-specificity and a desire to engage with political and physical environments. Here the move is away from the cultural confinement of the gallery, museum or art market and opens up a space for the artist to spend time in other places Artists participating in such practices seldom gain financially.   They are open to exploring and, like the traveller their sphere of activity often depends upon the absence of the familiar.

While attempting to explore the itinerant practices of the contemporary artist and their origins and to celebrate their energy and sense of adventure, this seminar also wishes to tease out the impact of globalisation on contemporary arts practice. Is the artist-traveller simply a new form of institutional practice, propelled by global patterns of movement and carried out under the guises of fake nomadism and neo-colonialism or, is the artist-traveller genuinely seeking new routes and ways of working, fed by deep curiosity, a desire for exploration or a courting of danger?  And, what of choice and non-choice?  Must today’s ambitious artist choose to be constantly on the move, while for others, freedom to move remains a restriction?  As Homi Bhabba would say “the globe shrinks for those who own it: for the displaced or dispossessed, the migrant or the refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers”:

Speakers include: Hou Hanru (China/curator); Hüseyin Bhari Alptekin (Turkey/artist/writer/educator); Shin Egashira (Japan/architect); Julie Bacon (UK artist/writer/curator); Ellen Driscoll (USA/artist) along with panellist Paddy Bloomer and Nicky Keogh (N. Ireland); Anna MacLeod; Regiona Gleeson; Mike Fitzpatrick(Chair); Dominic Stevens and Helen O’Leary (Ireland).


Trunk Show has arrived through the instigation of US curator and artist Ann Shostrom.  Her idea is to build an international exhibition from the ground up, involving local curators and artists. As the show travels more trunks are added and the exhibition gradually builds in size and diversity.    The American Trunk has already been assembled and shown in Pennsylvania and this will travel to King House, Boyle. The Irish Trunk which is not concerned with representing “Irish Art’ is curated out of works made by invited artists from Leitrim, Roscommon and Cork along with others participating in the Artist-as-Traveller seminar. The brief supports work in any medium and artists can if they wish collaborate with others, but the work must be new, lightweight and easily packed and artists have been asked to broadly consider the theme of movement. The works in ’Trunk’ will travel on to Sirius, Cobh in February 2005. The final Irish Trunk, will be selected from work collected from these shows and will then travel on to venues abroad. Shostrom’s intention for “Trunk Show” is that it will evolve as a laboratory in which differences among cultures will be exposed and mediated. She says, “Trunk Show will shuffle together artists from diverse backgrounds, in new ways. Countries with various levels of resources can participate as equals”.’


Leitrim:  Christine Mackey; Anna MacLeod; Alice Lyons; Majella Clancy; Denis Farrell; Seamus Dunbar; Dave Kinnane; Niall Walsh; Dominic Stevens; Mari Aymone Djeribi; Helen O’ Leary and Paul Chidester. Roscommon:Annabel Langrish; Padraig Naughton; Margo McNulty ;Etain O’Carroll; Brigitta Varadi; Noel Molloy; Dympna Molloy; Kristina Huxley; Katie Wilson. Cork:  –Collette Nolan; Mick O’Shea; Irene Murphy; June Pollock; Megan Eustace and Stephen Brandes.  USA: Micaela Amato; Noriko Ambe; Suzanne Anker; Eleanor Antin

Lillian Ball; Elena Berriolo; Bua & Bercowetz; Brian Conley; Rebecca DiDomenico; Jim Dingilian; Ellen Driscoll; David Ellis; Christie Frields; Ava Gerber; Kathleen Gilrain; Adam Harvey; Linda Herritt; Elana Herzog; Jim Hodges

Kim Jones; Steve Kursh; Dori Lemeh; Stacy Levy; Michelle Lopez; McCallum & Tarry; Sallie McCorkle; Helen O’Leary; Elizabeth Olbert; Ripley & Jackson; Sarah Schwartz; Maura Sheehan; Alan Shields; Ann Shostrom; Laurence Weiner.  And guest Hüseyin Bhari Alptekin (Turkey).


The trunk is designed and made by Laura Mays.


One of the guaranteed experiences of the traveller abroad is a change in food experience as a consequence of a change in location. con-Fusion is a food event that experiments with what locality can offer…and presents a cooking performance that truly confuses your certainty that you knew where you were. con-Fusion is a collaboration between artists Mike O Shea and Irene Murphy.


One element of the seminar involves setting aside a room to contain books, videos, and other material useful to the artist-traveler.  This room is curated by Sally Maidment.


Artist as Traveller is a VISUAL LEITRIM event and the culmination of the Cliodhna Shaffrey’s time in Leitrim as curator-in-residence. In developing the project she collaborated with Leitrim based artists, US curator Ann Shostrom; Sarah Iremonger artist/curator and residency director at Sirus Cobh; Philip Delamere, (Roscommon Arts Officer); Anna Marie O’ Rourke (Development Officer, VISUAL LEITRIM); artist Sally Maidment and Ruth Devine (art historian).  The project has received an Arts Council Project Award and is further supported by Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils.