Celebrating its 5th edition in 2014, PhotoIreland Festival proposes a fun and informative look at how photography is used for storytelling, often merging personal or political interests with objective approaches. The theme this year is ‘Truths, Facts, Fictions, Lies’, and brings to Dublin an excellent selection of artists for you to investigate and enjoy. Before going further into what is on the programme for this year, let me take account of and share with you the achievements and activities of PhotoIreland since the last edition, and how we arrived to this catalogue, now in your hands.
In September 2013, an invite for a month long residency at the gallery space of Black Church Print Studios in Temple Bar, turned into what was to be the most exciting and significant venture for PhotoIreland since the beginning of the Festival. We are now proud and busy residents at The Library Project, offering to the public our ever expanding resource of photobooks, magazines, and fanzines that we have been acquiring since 2011 as well as starting up an art bookshop and very active gallery space.
With the support of Culture Ireland, we were also fortunate enough in this time to offer substantial representation of Irish photobooks at the UNSEEN Book Fair in Amsterdam, extending the international exposure of some of our most talented and active photographers. Last year’s main festival exhibition ‘New Irish Works’ showcased the works of 25 artists from and based in Ireland with 7 exhibitions in Dublin, Cork and Limerick and the publication that illustrated the exhibition has travelled to all corners of the world, reaching public and private collections, libraries and bookshops in all continents. The project New Irish Works made it clear that there is a very active set of practitioners in the island, worth paying attention to, worth supporting, and well received here and abroad.
Our special presentation of New Irish Works at düo Gallery, Paris, which coincided with the most important month in the Photography calendar, that of Paris Photo, again highlighted Irish photographic talent in an international arena. It is imperative that Ireland enjoys a steady and organised presence at such international get-togethers and we aim to continue and develop these opportunities in the coming months.
Back in Dublin, our programme of exhibitions has included Olena Bulygina and Natalia Pokrovskya, Barry W Hughes, Eamonn Doyle, Maciej Pestka and Jim Ricks, amongst others. Right after Paris Photo, we invited Sebastian Haus, book manager at LE BAL Paris to host ‘Après Paris’: an informative event conceived for those who couldn’t make it to the festival., Events like ‘Après Paris’ are key for practitioners and audiences to keep up with new international developments. We also took the opportunity to organise a series of private meetings between local photographers and Sebastian, where he learnt about their practice and gave valuable feedback.
Alongside these exhibitions and events we have enjoyed launches, visits by students, curators and the generally curious, and have had fruitful collaborations with Making Space, Offset, St. Patrick’s and Bealtaine Festivals and have seen the space transformed and reimagined with each event. We aim in 2015 to continue in our efforts to develop the space as active cultural hub, and contributing our vision to the already vibrant offering in the area.
All these activities since last years festival serve as a testament to our commitment to encouraging a critically informed and thriving network of practitioners in Ireland, and to showcasing their work here and abroad.
Also essential to our endeavours is our focus on bringing the best national and international photographers and their work to Irish audiences. For this reason, we offer again this year, a carefully considered selection of outstanding exhibitions and events.
Divided amongst 9 venues in Dublin, the main show Truths, Facts, Fictions, Lies, presents selected projects by 24 photographers and 2 collectives. It embodies an astonishing array of work engaging with the festival theme in all its possible forms. We are truly excited to share these with you. The Sochi Project, the highlight of this years festival, is the result of over 6 years of research on the challenges and changes the 2014 Winter Olympic Games brought to the region, offering the viewer an educated assessment of its complexity.
The Copper House Gallery proposes an outstanding double-bill again this year; with one floor of the gallery offering the first solo show of last years Portfolio Reviews winner, Yvette Monahan, and on the other a new project by an emerging and talented artist, Kathrin Baumbach.
The Festival is complemented with the superb exhibitions programmed at the Gallery of Photography, the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the James Joyce Centre, Instituto Cervantes, and Oliver Sears Gallery — from previously unseen work by Lee Miller, to the second presentation of the David Kronn Collection, and the emergent, democratic archive that is The Photo Album of Ireland.
The Canon Open Programme brings our footsteps from Temple Bar to as far away as the Wexford Arts Centre, with a wide range of work to keep the festival vibrant with contemporary local artists. Also this year, we see the launch of the inaugural Cork Photo Fringe, an exciting initiative that will ensure a hive of activity across Cork City and one that we hope will become a regular feature of the festival calendar.
The Summer Campus is an inviting space to converse, reflect and create. Two exhibitions at The Library Project will be a delight for the photobook lovers: The Fotobookfestival Kassel Dummy Award 2014 and The Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2013. And it that is not enough, you can discover the latest publications at the PhotoIreland Street Market, where artists will also offer their prints for sale. The free talk series, kindly hosted at the Oliver Sears Gallery, will inspire and enlighten you, and most certainly entertain you.