(the site+ruin) Kilkenny Arts Office Gallery

(the site + ruin)

Saturday 10 April – Saturday 1 May 2021 76-77 John Street Lower, Kilkenny

What is the significance of a place promoting its past?
What is the relevance of being aligned with our history now?

Kilkenny is a place that identifies strongly with its history, captivating the outsider’s eye with its prominent heritage and evident past. History is embedded in the architecture of the city, time is told through  stone and residual traces. For Kilkenny’s locals it is a destination to complete errands  a scope for mundanity  and a space for lived experience. This means it must adapt and evolve to facilitate modern day living; the new bus route navigates the narrowness of its streets and the build- ing of bridges eases access and accommodates the increase of traffic.

Rebecca Solnit suggests in the Book of Migration that a place can exist in two different ways: exotic and local. “The exotic is a casual ac- quaintance who must win hearts through charm and beauty and site of historical interest,’ she says, ‘but the local is made up of the accre- tion of individual memory and sustenance, the maternal landscape of uneventful routine.” This approach of using the “exotic” or intrigued perspective within a familiar context can possibly offer a fresh cogni- zance of the mundane and ordinary.

(the site + ruin) is a solo exhibition by artist Robert Dunne. Dunne’s practice looks at normal elements in our lived environments, extract- ing the typical from the unseen everyday. Through the process of making, he questions our imprint of time and need. Things become altered and changed, yet, reinterpreted in a common language of materiality  permitting the residual traces to cite their known use and origin.

In response to Kilkenny as a place, Dunne is drawn to the evidence
of process shown in the development of the city, this is continuously conveyed through its structure and materiality. When a local becomes a voyeur in their hometown, an awareness can be drawn to things that have been blended into the banal.

Robert Dunne lives in Co. Kilkenny and works mainly with plas- ter and used wood, he says his work “is a way to reframe our ‘made’ environment. I try to capture physical and visual elements of my surroundings and reimagine, juxtapose and alter their structure and meaning to make new and vaguely familiar scenarios”.