Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Engage, a photography exhibition kicked off at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin on June 22nd and is on till August 30. The exhibition display work of various artists who specialize in the area of photography.
Exhibition began with Rural Fluorescent, by Jill Quigley and consisted of a set of photographs of the landscape on the countryside with the use of high-visibility materials. In the first picture, you see photographer’s father, wearing a jacket with a neon-stripe on it. The stripe makes him visible during the snowstorm and that’s why it is an obligation to wear due to safety reasons. Other photos capture the landscape, while the pattern of neon-stripes fulfill artist’s mission – “Explore the environment and try to see it in a new way.”
And it really works. In other pictures you perceive things from different perspective. A picture of rock collons where some elements are highlighted with red neon lines, brings life to a grey landscape and quite usual objects.
Alberto Maserin’s project called Interferences gives you a view on influence of U.S. military, on a small town in Italy through the years. There are beautiful landscape, mountains, towers with antennas but all covered in emptiness, loneliness and absurdness. You see a black trunk with red rings, rising like a snake from the middle of the mountain road; burnt field with unlimited amount of sticks, all covered in smoke, so much that you can barely notice the house in the background. Sometimes the ground is so white, that you will not be able to figure out, whether it’s snow or sand. The river doesn’t look natural as the water has a lazur colour with the trees growing inside it. “There is a contrast between normal life and the objects that are not supposed to be there,” says Tommaso Caldarini, a visitor from Italy.
Close to you, a part of the exhibition by Andrew Rankin, shows some pictures of famous hollywood actresses, taken from the TV-screen. You see a huge portray of Keira Knightley. “The reason it is so large is to make the pixel from the TV more noticeable,” explains the artist. “The ideal person creates a myth, something that is impossible to achieve, and if you are trying to achieve it, it creates an isolation from the real world!” That’s the reason that some photos, taken at the places where these Hollywood scenes appear, seem so lonely.
Jan McCullough had her artwork, Home Instruction Manual, in a separate room. McCullough had got some advices from the internet on, “how to make a home” and spent two months decorating the house. In one corner you see this long wall paper, hanging from the ceiling and spread on the floor. The wall paper’s content is the conversation, where people are sharing their experiences on how to make home a happier place. “Messy Tupperware cupboard means you have a happier home than if you had a tidy one. It means you have a life!”, says one of the “experts”. Most of the pictures show the hand trying to change something in the house. For example, a hand putting plastic boxes in order or a hand watering the tree in the garden.
“The most memorable for me was the painting with leaves”, says Joline Warnant, a student from Leuven, “if you are standing on a distance, you feel like the leaves are coming out of it.”
Denis O’Shea presents some photos of books and the things he found in these books. It is really excited to see what a book can contain and what are, who read certain kinds of books, are interested in.
The whole exhibition ends with an exposition THF of Aisling McCoy. The pictures show the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin, that has several historical meanings which contradict each other from the beginning to the end. The terminal building was designed by Nazi, it was a sitting for a forced labour camp during the second World War, played a major role in the Berlin airlift during the cold war and has recently become a refugee center. From being a symbol of Nazi, it became a symbol of liberation.
“The context, in which we see images, changes their meaning,” explains McCoy, “for example, a photo on a gallery wall means something different than when it’s hanging in a friends house, and with architecture the context can change too; but it needs a bigger social change.”
All started with a wedding in Berlin where Aisling McCoy was invited to. There she met wonderful Ulrike who was running a refugee shelter, outside Berlin. After Aisling McCoy came back to Ireland, she understood that she wanted to do something about it. “I don’t believe, I can change people’s opinions but I can at least try to talk with people about refugee crisis [through photography]”, says Aisling McCoy.
The project is about how we see cities and places, that’s the reason why there are no people on the pictures. You see the heaven, a park with empty benches. It combines the surreal and real, the idea of utopia, represented with the park, and dystopia, shown with refugee center.
“Germany is trying to do an impossible task, in a way they are open for criticism. It is such a big problem and no country can do it successfully, but it is admirable that they are doing it,” says the photographer.