The Lab, Dublin
10 April – 7 June 2014
All photos by Darren Caffrey.
Darren is supported by an Artlinks Bursary.
What got you personally interested in this project? And in contemporary art?
I’ll just dive in with a bit of background: BFA - Painting and Multimedia at NCAD (a long time ago!); MFA - School of the Art Institute in Chicago; Film/Video/Performance. I worked in the Film/Video/Motion Graphic industry in Chicago for many years. Producing a number of short films and documentaries (including Brian's Wilson's Smile and Pet Sounds documentaries). Throughout the ‘film period’ I always painted and exhibited my works.Can you tell us some background on the project? When did you start working on it? where did the idea come from?Over the years I had met numerous international artists who were interested in exhibiting works in Ireland (as I was myself!) However there didn't seem to be any venue for ‘unknown’ artists to exhibit here and gallery rosters were already at capacity. That's where the idea of a pop-up came from.I proceeded to look for funding, unsuccessfully, and then decided to go ahead on my own. Putting a ‘small group show together’ and divvying up the cost of participation, the ‘small group show’ soon became 55 artists and that's when the inaugural happened in 2012.Do you have relationships or partnerships with other arts organisations or galleries in Dublin?Unfortunately at this point we don't have relationships with other galleries or organizations in Ireland, it's something that we would like to foster – and hopeful will after this exhibit.Where do you see the Biennial going in the future? Is this something that you see getting much bigger?I'd really like to see the 'Biennial' evolve and become a multi-venue art festival in Dublin and fostering relationships with other organizations is key to that growth. And, I believe it will grow because there is so much enthusiasm and support for the show - both by the artists and the public. It's encouraging to see so many people engage with the art – Sonia Falcone's Campo de Color is the most photographed work in Ireland!The Biennial works I believe for a number of reasons... because of the wide range of works on exhibit, how accessible those works are, and because the show exists outside the confines of the 'Gallery/Museum' walls. Exhibiting outside the traditional 'art-space' is also something that appealed to a lot of the participating artists. For instance for Andrew Duggan, Meadhbh O’Connor, Belinda Loftus, and Sonia Falcone the opportunity to engage with an audience that wouldn't normally visit a gallery or museum. Also, the Conversations Series attracts interest, this year's the conversations are geared to environmental issues.How do you see the Biennale in relation to other arts organisations, festivals, and fairs (Vue at the RHA, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Eva in Limerick, Tulca in Galway, etc.) in Ireland?The Biennial is a 'start-up'/'one-woman' organization so it's difficult to compare it to more seasoned and funded organizations like the RHA, EVA, Kilkenny, Tulca – all of which I greatly admire and would aspire to learn from and perhaps even partner with in the future.How is the art collecting scene in Dublin? Do you think that it is changing? Is the Biennale consciously taking part in this conversation?Yes, I think it is changing. The Biennial doesn't charge a commission and there's been a lot of interest in works. We've sold some work and hope to sell more at the Closing/Silent Art Auction this weekend.What about the name itself? It seems to be a sore spot for some in the art world here. With EVA billing itself now as 'Ireland's Biennial' and the general assumption that a biennial is something that is less commercial and more looking towards the international, curated by a 'big name' across a number of venues or in a massive space (like Dublin Contemporary), with artists fees and new commissions, etc... do you see the name Dublin Biennial as a problem? Is it misleading? Or is it an ambition?In terms of the name 'Dublin Biennial', yes I agree it's both problematic and an ambition with the hope that it will develop into a multi-venue exhibition or be in a huge space like the Contemporary. Consider though again what the costs would be related to that scale of show, and the addition of a ‘big name’ international curator. As I've said, the basic concept of the Dublin Biennial was to create a sustainable international show – one that could become a mainstay in the visual arts calendar, and a support for art and artists in Ireland.I am really hopeful that with the issues raised by the Dublin Biennial we can move forward with an open dialogue on how to best develop and present DB16.Also, Irish artists and artists resident in Ireland have never paid any [Entrance] fees.