MARTIN HEALY: 9 April – 5 June 2011

Lismore Castle Arts in collaboration with Pallas Projects presents

Martin Healy - Facsimile 


Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall is a new offsite project space programmed by Lismore Castle Arts, in an abandoned Victorian church hall located in the town of Lismore, Co Waterford. A parallel programme of exhibitions will run alongside the main exhibition programme at Lismore Castle Arts. In 2011 Lismore Castle Arts has invited several artists/artist-led projects to curate an exhibition for the new space, to coincide with the Still Life exhibition in the main gallery space.

Martin Healy - Facsimile, curated by Pallas Projects, is the first of these projects at Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall.

For nearly a decade, Martin Healy has investigated the fragile relationship between belief and the observable phenomena that furnish the evidentiary basis for faith — or don’t. And for Healy, instances of belief encompass a broad range of suppositions, from hauntings and monsters to backward masking and UFOs.

Healy’s video, Facsimile, comprises a sequence of shots across lush tropical foliage. A soundtrack with birdcalls creates the impression that the scenes represent a verdant rainforest, yet an unnatural stillness pervades, coupled with an absence of any sign of animal life. A voiceover in French, subtitled in English, speaks about an island paradise, and a week’s worth of thoughts and feelings, captured by some sort of machine, that repeat for eternity. The combination of word and image elliptically suggests, on the one hand, the promise of a return to Eden, a life continually renewed in an insular heaven. Yet, at the same time, the reference to a machine and unending repetition intimates a kind of existential hell.

In fact, Healy has excerpted the brief text from The Invention of Morel, a 1940 novella by the Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, in which a fugitive discovers a group of revelers on an unidentified isle somewhere in the Pacific. They turn out to be projections, ghosts in a machine, doomed by its inventor to forever repeat the events and emotions of seven days’ worth of pleasures. Ultimately, the unnamed narrator decides to join them in their week of eternal, phantasmatic recurrence, thereby causing his own death. Healy’s evocation of Bioy’s fiction summons its narrator’s struggles with belief—in reality and its facsimile, in life and immortality, in the desirability of one over the other—with a poetic economy of means.

– Joseph R. Wolin

FACSIMILE                                                  Camera: Ronan Fox, Assisted by: Declan King

2008                                                                Edited by: Stephen O’Connell, Robbie O’Farrell

Single Channel Video (HD Cam)              Sound: Karl Burke

5.50 Minutes                                                 Voice-Over: Phillippe Saltel

This work was made with funding from the Arts Council / An Chomhaîrle Ealaîon and was also supported by The Open Eye Club for ‘The Human Arc’ event in Glasgow. With thanks to: The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin and The Office of Public Works. Facsimile, is presented courtesy of the artist and Rubicon Gallery Dublin.

Martin Healy was born in London in 1967. He was awarded the International Studio Programme residency at PS1 Contemporary Art Centre, New York in 2000/01 and took part in the Artists’ Residency Programme at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2007. In 2008 he was awarded a residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris and he was the recipient of the Temple Bar Gallery & Studios and HIAP-International Residency Exchange award in 2010. Solo exhibitions include Facsimile at Rubicon Gallery, Dublin (2009), Skywatcher at Roscommon Arts Centre (2008), I want to believe at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2007). Group exhibitions include; Terminal Convention, Cork (2011); Invisible, Black Church Print Studio, Dublin (2010); Flicks-The Cinematic in Art, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda (2009); The Open eye Club presents The Human Arc, Tramway T4, Glasgow, Scotland (2008); Based on our current Science, Gallery of Photography, Dublin (2008). Martin is to exhibit new work with Pallas Projects as part of a group exhibition in September 2011.

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