A new exhibition of Grace Weir, the largest solo presentation of her work to date, opened last week at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin). Entitled 3 Different Nights, recurring, the exhibition comprises 30 works made over the last 20 years including three new film commissions, A Reflection on Light, Black Square and Dark Room, and two new series of paper works, The history of light (Betelgeuse) and Future Perfect.
Weir has always been interested in moving image and installation that explores concepts and theories, philosophical, scientific and otherwise. Starting out as a visual artist she took some time out in the late 1990’s to complete a MSc in Interactive Digital Media which opened up her practice to digital architecture, programming and the cultural studies around technology. She also often collaborates with scientists, philosophers and practitioners from other disciplines in order to make the work and uses sites important to the production of new knowledge, particularly in the fields of maths and science, as locations for her work. Her film, Dust Defying Gravity, which was purchased by IMMA in 2004, for example, traces the atmosphere and air, the particles of dust, in the rooms of the Dunsink Observatory in Dublin. Other works have focused on conversations with astrophysicist, explorations of the spatial theories of Einstein, 3D simulations of clouds and the study of black holes.
Weir is currently Artist-in-Residence in the School Of Physics, Trinity College Dublin, and one new film, A Reflection of Light, has been produced in direct relation to this experience. Exploring different locations and histories that surround the hanging of a painting by Mainie Jellett titled Let there be Light in the School of Physics in Trinity College Dublin, the film weaves the reasons this painting ended up at the college and its wider context.
Black Square, the second new commission, explores the journey to make of an image of the black hole that lies in the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy and documents the film crew’s travels across the Atacama Desert in Chile to the telescopes at the top of Cerro Paranal. The third, Dark Room, is filmed in pioneering Irish photographer Mary Rosse’s original darkroom in Birr Castle and in a reconstruction that has been made of the darkroom in the castle grounds. Each ambitious film takes the viewer on a journey through lived and perceived reality, construction, truth-telling, the performative and meditations on concepts of the world that can be explored but often remain just, tantalisingly, outside of the realms of our understanding.
Grace Weir's exhibition 3 Different Nights, recurring runs at IMMA until 6 March 2016. There is a comprehensive series of events, discussions and screenings. Check the website for more info.