Sean Lynch ‘For the Birds’ – Illuminations

Sean Lynch’s exhibition at the Illuminations gallery considers the medieval myth of Buile Suibhne, an ongoing topic in his investigations of how folklore and history can be liberally inherited and adopted for contemporary life. The story of Suibhne, or Sweeney, has long been a subject for creative invention – figures such as Seamus Heaney and Joan Jonas have all considered the tale of the frenzied mad king, exiled from his land following the introduction of a Christian hierarchy into Ireland. Cursed to be half man, half bird, Sweeney schizophrenically roams throughout the island and beyond, only pausing only to lament his woes and the rigid social order that now inhabits the kingdom he once freely ruled.

Eventually after years of wandering, Sweeney began to radiate towards a farm where, for the first time since being cursed, he found kindness and supper made for him each evening. There the cook Muirghil would sink her heel into the nearest cow-dung, shaping a bowl and filling it up to the brim with fresh milk. He would then delightedly sneak in from nearby trees and lap it up.

In collaboration with sculptor Tom Fitzgerald, Lynch first realised a version of this scene of abjection as a performance and exhibition at VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow in 2014, close to where the incident is fabled to have occurred. In its reprise, For The Birds, For The Birds, an artist’s book and video documentation are arranged in a variety of sequences throughout the Illuminations gallery, emphasising the contingencies in the remembrance of Sweeney, and the uncertain nature of storytelling and Irish culture itself.

Sean Lynch (b.1978) currently lives in Dublin. In 2015 he represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale and concurrently is presenting a solo exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College. In addition, he has recently held solo exhibitions at The Rose Art Museum, Boston, Modern Art Oxford, Charles H Scott Gallery, Vancouver and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, along with group and thematic survey exhibitions at Camden Arts Centre, London, CAPC Bordeaux, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and neugerriemschneider, Berlin. Alongside Michele Horrigan, he works at Askeaton Contemporary Arts, organising artist residencies, exhibitions and publications in County Limerick.

Ailbhe Ní Bhriain – Illuminations


Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s film installations depict archetypal or generic locations that have been transformed into a dream-like theatricality. Whether a flooded library inhabited by birds of prey or a disused airport housing a rudimentary landscape, these works conjure an altered reality in which our expectations of time and place do not hold.

The films are defined by a slowness of pace and employ either a stationary camera position or slow continuous tracking shots, through which geographical and pictorial instability gradually unfold. It is left unstated whether these scenes represent an imaginary ideal in the process of being constructed or the aftermath of a place or vision come undone.

Ailbhe Ní Bhriain has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally.

Recent and upcoming exhibitions include solo & shows at Domobaal, London, The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon and RHA, Dublin and group shows at The Library Project, Dublin, Espace Lhomond, Paris, The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork and The Broad Museum, Michigan. Ailbhe has collaborated regularly with musicians and composers in the making of her work and is currently the recipient of a Visual Arts Project Award from The Arts Council. Ailbhe completed her MA at the Royal College of Art, London, and was awarded a PhD by practice at Kingston University, UK in 2008. She is represented by Domobaal Gallery, London and lectures at the Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork.

Image Credit

Inscriptions #1, pigment baryta print, 2017. Courtesy the artist & Domobaal Gallery, London.

Works List

Inscriptions #1, 2, 5, 8, pigment baryta prints, 2017

Reports to an Academy 1-4, video & CGI composite, colour, sound, 2015/16

Great Good Places I-IV, video & CGI composite, colour, sound, 2011

Aleana Egan Illuminations


Illuminations is delighted to host a retrospective of the work of Aleana Egan.

Aleana Egan’s art is predominantly intuitive and subjective; she uses simple materials, assembled or barely transformed, to create enigmatic works that have a restrained tone and structure. She groups these pieces into installations that are oddly ambivalent; on the one hand she draws our attention to the way things look, how they settle, sag, curve, or hang; on the other, her forms and shapes act as traces or memories, and as a tentative articulation of shifting responses to remembered places or everyday moments. Gaps and absences are at the heart of what Egan does, and this is what makes her work a little puzzling. Similarly, her frequent literary and historical allusions, which are never explained, are reticent and elliptic.

Aleana Egan lives and works in Dublin. Recent solo exhibitions include Douglas Hyde Gallery, Gallery 2, Dublin, (2015); Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin (2015); Mary Mary Gallery, Glasgow (2014); Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2013); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2012); The Drawing Room, London (2011); Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona (2010); Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2009); and Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2008).