The Charles H. Scott is pleased to present the work of Irish artist Sean Lynch in his first solo exhibition in Canada. Lynch is a skilled storyteller with a knack for unearthing little-known or underappreciated stories. While he employs an ethnographic approach to researching the characters and situations that inhabit these stories, his retellings are sympathetic to the eccentricities of his subjects and their social and historical contexts. Whether it is the tale of a pair of nineteenth-century stone carvers, John and James O’Shea, in his work A Blow by Blow Account of Stonecarving in Oxford, or an attempt to trace the path of discarded parts from the defunct DeLorean car factory in DeLorean Progress Report, Lynch fully embraces the allegorical potential of his subjects.
For the exhibition, Lynch presents a new video installation entitled What Is An Apparatus? This work, produced throughout 2016 in Europe and North America, was completed this fall during Lynch’s tenure as the Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence and features locations in Vancouver. While initially appearing as a collection of somewhat ludicrous encounters with nuclear submarines, postmodern architecture, robots, scrapyards or supermarkets, it gradually becomes apparent that Lynch’s stories are generated as the result of living in an increasingly technocratic world. The measures and institutional values that aim to manage and orient human behavior become more evident in each of his eleven tales. Inside the gallery space, an innocuous collection of chairs and tables, scavenged from around the university campus, soon become embroiled in Lynch’s narrative, becoming the subject of a speculative investment opportunity generated by Emily Carr University’s upcoming move to the Great Northern Way Campus.
The new work will be presented alongside Latoon, a video work from 2006 that focuses on the story of a whitethorn bush in Latoon, County Clare. In 1999, folklorist Eddie Lenihan successfully campaigned to have a multi million-euro roadway redirected in order to save the bush, which he had argued was an important meeting place for fairies. The exhibition also includes the video work Adventure: Capital, which was first presented at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Spanning geography and historic time, its narrative follows “a wandering spirit encountering the hegemonic structures that anchor contemporary life and entwined flows of capital, migration and neoliberal spatiality”*
Also on exhibition is Campaign to Change the National Monuments Acts, a video installation that investigates the legal status of metal detectors in Ireland. Following national controversy around the finding of the Derrynaflan Hoard, a medieval treasure trove uncovered in the 1980s, the state hastily placed a blanket ban on the public use of all devices used to search for archaeological objects. This legislation effectively destroyed the fledgling Irish metal detectorist community of Ireland. Using the tropes of a promotional video, Campaign to Change the National Monuments Acts advocates for a change in these authoritarian laws, where ideas of nationhood, individual freedom, and the need for new forms of community-led heritage are all explored on a journey again narrated by Lynch’s long-time collaborator Gina Moxley.
We are pleased to announce the publication of Vancouver Days, a new book by Sean Lynch that includes the artist’s writing on some of the people, objects and ideas influential to his thinking. Swaying between the objective-informative and the anecdotal, topics explored include folklore, public art, newspapers, architectural ornament and literature. With a keen interest in the offbeat and marginal, each text aims to identify strains of thought to resist the technocracy of western thinking, most particularly in the artist’s native Ireland.” Vancouver Days is co-published by the Charles H. Scott Gallery and Publication Studio Vancouver.
Sean Lynch has exhibited throughout Europe and North America, including solo exhibitions at Modern Art Oxford, Dublin City Gallery, the Frankfurter Kunstverein and the Rose Art Museum in Boston. Lynch represented Ireland at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Along with artist Michele Horrigan, Lynch runs Askeaton Contemporary Arts in County Limerick and has curated exhibitions for galleries in Ireland and the UK. He studied fine art at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Lynch is represented by Kevin Kavanagh in Dublin and Ronchini Gallery in London.
* Woodrow Kernohan, Shortening the Road, Ireland at Venice brochure, 2015.