I believe help my unbelief I believe help my unbelief, is a meditation on the cycle of life and therefore death. Our forms of commemoration dovetail with the practice of artistic expression. The raw need to create a shrine, create a visual compost, to create against the odds of time and decay and the hardest part of all… to create against forgetting. The belief and the unbelief of death bounce against each other throughout life. This is how we live given the certainty of death.
There follows a series of 10 pieces as well as a short series of exhibition shots.
Installation shots, Mermaid Arts Centre, 2010 >>
Installation shots, Highlanes Gallery, 2012 >>
I believe this is a time of great change. The principles of capitalism, the balance of world power, the renegociation of philosophies and our own psychologies leave many of us rooted to the spot with our mouth open…. trembling. There is much dancing on the spot, movement that is no movement, regression to a former state, playing in the ruins. Something fundamental is dying.
Death is one guarantee that we have. For me, it is one of the hardest things to accept. It is also part of life and for once I am trying not to run away. In the process of my work, projects evolve slowly along side each other at different rates. I started Burial several years ago and it has taken this time to come to the fore.
For many years I visited The Angels Plot at Glasnevin Cemerty, Dublin. A profusion of small grave memorials created by parents and families have evolved into a freer and more individual form of expression than can be found elsewhere. There are historical and practical reasons for this.
Glasnevin cemetry is now undergoing a revamp because of its historical significance and has become a Trust Museum. As part of this reorganization in 2009, it was deemed that the Angels plot was unsightly, unhygienic and a source of noise pollution (the chimes in the trees). Parents tried to fight back and the diggers were put ‘on hold’. In the meantime, the heart of this site is disentigrating as trees are felled, picket fenses and outlines are pushed back, objects disappear.
I quote from their site “Recent report in the Sunday World suggested the Old Angels Plot will be bulldozed and this is totally untrue. In order to landscape the Angels Memory Garden areas, which have sunk or collapsed will be raised with topsoil. Seating will be positioned around the garden for parents to take time to reflect and remember. Flowers and trees will be planted and the Angels Memory Garden divided into named areas, such as ‘Primrose Lane’ and ‘Buttercup Walk’ etc. Parents will be able to find out which ‘named area’ their baby is buried in.”
There is no easy answer to any of this but I am left with questions. What is acceptable, unacceptable? Why? What is process? What are underlying taboos? What forms are acceptable and what are not? Is the art world different to the real world?