Seán Lynch

5 December 2008 – 2 January, 2009
opening reception: 7.30pm, Friday, 5th December
artist talk: 2pm, Thursday, 4th December

Curated by Gregory McCartney

Seán Lynch’s diverse artworks investigate and shine a spotlight on a wide range of subjects, magnifying traces of an often-idiosyncratic existence. Throughout Europe the culture of progress predominates rather than a culture of survival. Lynch is specifically interested in the friction between these two processes, often referring to Walter Benjamin’s subtle notion of ‘revolutionary nostalgia,’ an approach that considers the resonance of history and site in critical relation to contemporary discourse. In his first solo exhibition in Northern Ireland, the Context Gallery presents a survey of artworks realised by Lynch in the last three years.

The videowork Latoon, recalls folklorist Eddie Lenihan’s 1999 campaign to save a whitethorn bush from being destroyed by the construction of a €90 million road scheme in County Clare. In 1999, he claimed that this bush is an important meeting place for supernatural forces of the region, and warned that its destruction would result in death and great misfortune for motorists travelling on the proposed new road. Clare County Council, acting on his advice, eventually changed the direction of the road away from the bush. In 2006, Lenihan agrees to further explain the significance of the bush. As Lynch’s camera crew arrive at Latoon, they encounter the construction of another road nearby, and the bush once more seems to be in danger…

Another video work, records the introduction of peregrine falcons, the fastest creature in the world, into the Moyross housing estate in Limerick City. These birds, once populous around Ireland before the use of pesticides in the 1960s made them an endangered species, now fly over the rooftops of a housing estate about to disappear, with a regeneration plan being now announced. With miniature video cameras attached to their bodies, their free flights record a place about to disappear under the failed agendas of urban planning.

Continuing an interest in hidden narratives of site, Lynch traces the location of the last street Walter Benjamin walked on, in Portbou, Spain. Completing the show, a series of photographs detail Dana’s triumphant homecoming to Dublin Airport in 1970, after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. An editioned poster, availible to all visitors to the exhibition, recalls her touchdown and subsequent trip to Derry in detail. Incidentially, Dana sang an Irish lullaby in Saint Columb’s Hall, now the location of the Context Gallery, when she was six years old. She won a talent competition with her recital.

Seán Lynch was born in Kerry in 1978. He studied history at the University of Limerick and fine art at the Stadelschule in Frankfurt. He has completed solo exhibitions at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin (2008), Heaven’s Full, London (2008), Galway Arts Centre (2007), Limerick City Gallery of Art (2007), and Ritter and Staiff, Frankfurt (2006). He has featured in recent group exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork and Office Baroque, Antwerp.