PERIPHERIES | ART BY PROXY

During a portfolio assessment, one student produced and presented a series of accomplished Banski stencils. I remarked to another assessor 'Banski by proxy'. Banski stencilling seems to have gone viral. I've witnessed Banski stencils in Bergen City, Norway and some in Gorey, Ireland. Many of these were carried out by anonymous parties.
Later I considered the idea of a proxy in the broader context of contemporary art and how some artists willingly engage a proxy.

ART BY PROXY, the exhibition, will showcase the work of artists who have intentionally or otherwise used a proxy in their work. We have considered the idea of Art by Proxy under the following working titles; artist as agent, a proxy as intervention and a proxy as understudy.

Among the invited artists are Alan Butler and John Molloy. 

Butler is currently artist in-residence at the Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin. In 2008, Alan Butler stumbled upon a photograph from a blog-site that showed a factory in the town of Dafen in China producing oil paintings of a bearded man. After some investigation, Butler discovered that this town produces around 60% of the world's mass-produced oil paintings. Intrigued by this fact, he decided to commission the factory to produce a painting of the image found on the blog-site. When Butler mistakenly receives a portrait of the beard man and not the image of the factory scene, he contacted the factory directly and explained the misinterpretation of his initial commission, and in time, the factory painting arrived too. 

 

After a considerable amount of research, Butler later discovered that the scene depicted in the photograph of the factory was taken while the workers engaged in a race to produce the portraits.  Furthermore, he discovered the identity of the bearded man and a wonderful counterpoint was activated. The identity of the bearded man in the painting is believed to be that of Vladimir Stasov, the infamous Russian Minister for Culture. The context in which Stasov is being depicted was contrary to his beliefs, leaving us with a lingering question; Was this the intention of the competition organisers? On a very intimate level, these paintings play with our expectation of the production of culture and our ideas around the originality of the 'artwork'.


John Molloy, a photographer based in Dublin, has produced a number of daguerreotype prints . Daguerreotypes are a very rarefied form of photography. The process is lengthy, meticulous, and the result could be described as being metallic or holographic in quality.

Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype process, made his first print from a view looking out through his studio window (L'Atelier de l'artiste 1837).  One hundred and seventy three years later, John Malloy makes his first daguerreotype print. The print shows a view looking through that very same window, but looking into Louis Daguerre's studio. There is a conscious acknowledgment of the origins of this technique and one that carries it's inventors name. Through a sense of continuity evoked in the act, Molloy presents a wonderful dialogue in this work.

The artists participating in PERIPHERIES 2012 ART BY PROXY are from diverging practices.

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