The Past Is A Foreign Country asks what is it to be human today. Through drawings, large scale installations, film, and animation Anita Groener explores the tissue of trauma and loss rooted in this question. She makes work for what still needs language, bringing into play both figurative and abstract geography. The deliberately modest means of the work (twigs, paper, pins, twine and gouache) speak to the fragility of life and society that refugee crises expose. Her art asks questions about the ethics of witnessing atrocity and aesthetic response.
The Past Is A Foreign Country addresses one of the most pressing issues of our time–the refugee crises–and our response to it. It is the title of a large installation in the Carnegie Gallery where twenty young birch trees, stripped of their leaves, their branches cut, unearthed and uprooted, are reconstructed and suspended from the ceiling, making a closed circuit grid. We can walk around it, look into it but we cannot enter it.
An attempt to translate terror’s destabilizing impact is echoed in Moments, a series of animated line drawings portraying children caught in the violence of Syria’s war. From one moment into another, in a split second, life changes irreversibly, sometimes in a most disturbing way. The idea and realisation of these drawings came about in collaboration with Syrian journalist Razan Ibraheem.
This exhibition received an Arts Council Touring and Dissemination Award and will tour to The Dock, Carrick-on- Shannon, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen and The Lab, Dublin in 2019.
A new catalogue to accompany this touring exhibition–with contributions from Joseph R. Wolin, writer and curator based in New York City; Sean Kissane, curator Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Suzanne Lynch, Washington DC correspondent for The Irish Times; Razan Ibraheem, Syrian journalist based in Ireland and Peter Sirr, Irish poet, will be published at the end of November 2018.
Anita Groener was born in The Netherlands and has been based in Dublin, Ireland for many years. Until 2014 she was a lecturer in Fine Art at the Dublin Institute of Technology where she also served as the Head of Fine Art from 2004 to 2006. She is a member of Aosdána.
image credit; Roland Paschhoff