Date(s) - 29/08/2019 - 18/10/2019
Project Arts Centre
Exhibition Opening on 29th August 6.30-8pm preceded by a conversation between Sandra Johnston, Susan MacWilliam and Richard Ashrowan (5.30–6.30pm).
Live performance by Sandra Johnston on 30 August starting at 5pm in the CUBE. Duration: 45min.
With newly commissioned video installations, this landmark solo exhibition by Northern Irish artist Sandra Johnston grew out of conversations surrounding her time spent in Dublin during the late 1990s. As an emerging artist, Johnston was resident at both IMMA and Arthouse and participated in Project Arts Centre’s OFF Site programme curated by Valerie Connor between 1998 and 1999. During that time, her performance work Reserved took place over two consecutive nights on the rooftop of the former Ormond Hotel with a video installation shown inside the building containing edited footage of her 24-hour performance.
Consisting of two main parts, Wait it Out negotiates personal and historical narratives in relation to the reverberation of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. The work reflects upon the indeterminate early days of the peace process and the climate of unease which motivated Johnston to relocate to Dublin in 1997. The central installation, That Apart, is an edit of a five-day consecutive filming process (in the gallery at Project and at IMMA) with Scottish moving-image artist Richard Ashrowan. During these sessions Ashrowan recorded a series of singular actions and gestures, a flow of transitional moves that Johnston describes as an ‘autopsy of performative gestures’ extracted from various performance improvisations that have occurred in live contexts across her 27 years of practice. Overprint is a constellation of videos hosted in the gallery’s black box. It includes edited documentation of one of Johnston’s street performances from Belfast during the 2000s, alongside two alternating projections of UTV news clips that chart the rise and decline of The Peace People, a movement that began in 1976 as a protest against the ongoing violence in Northern Ireland.
Wait it Out draws together these new video works that have evolved from the artist’s own archive of performative actions. They are positioned here in ways that offer a potential for cross-referencing with specific historical events that have significantly shaped the standpoints conveyed within the actions. Sandra Johnston and Richard Ashrowan renewed their collaborative experimentation, which began in 2009 and also involves performance artist Alastair MacLennan. Previously, they have developed two film projects in the Scottish Borders region near Hawick. The first resulted in Alchemist (2010, 30 mins, 2 channels) and a second experimental film is currently in production.
Wait it Out was commissioned and produced by Project Arts Centre, Dublin with support from the Irish Museum of Modern Art Production Residency and the Arts Department, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.