Exhibition

Felons
curated by Alan Phelan

Felons is the third in a series of artist curated exhibitions at the Academy. In 2002 artist Willie McKeown presented The Holiday Show, followed by artist Sarah Pierce’s Living in a Cloud in 2003.

The title for the show comes from the spell check prompt of Alan Phelan’s surname in Microsoft Word which returns ‘felon’ as the correct spelling. It is from here that the first selection criteria emerged – all the artists in the show have names that sound like the name Phelan . The show includes work by Hans-Peter Feldmann (Germany), Paul Ferman (Australia), Yona Friedman (Hungary/France), Wolfgang Paalen (Austria/Mexico) and Marko Peljhan (Slovenia). A catalogue will be published on March 10 which will also include texts by Michel Peillon (France/Ireland) and Pelin Tan (Turkey).

As a way of selecting artists for any exhibition this would seem rather arbitrary if not egotistical. The process is intended to question the way a group exhibition is put together and recent developments with the emergence of the ‘creative creating’ and indeed the ‘artist-curator’. In these practices the curator has become more of an author or the central personality surrounding the exhibition, best seen in large international exhibitions like Documenta or various Biennale where the theme dominates individual artist’s work.

Felons brings together a seemingly arbitrary group of artists which mirror the dynamic of these exhibitions (only on a much smaller scale). The show includes utopian architecture, surrealist paintings, conceptual sequences, photography and hi-tech practices.

Yona Friedman (b.1923) presents a cardboard model and print from his 1950’s Spatial City project for a mobile architecture built in the air space above existing cities. Several paintings, catalogues and documentation from Wolfgang Paalen (b.1905 d.1959), show the artist’s involvement with many of the central figures of his day from the surrealist movement, charting visions of the unconsciousness in that social and cultural context. Hans-Peter Feldman (b.1941), a much celebrated German conceptual artist, borrows shoes from RHA employees, ironically engaging moments of displacement and projection. Paul Ferman (b.1948) photographs suburban curb-side rubbish which become a kind of sculptural monument to urbanised living. Finally the video animations of Marko Peljhan (b.1969) are taken from his S-77CCR project which created urban counter-surveillance systems to monitor public space.

What binds the show together is not the organisational conceit but rather the interaction between the artworks which examine representations of social spaces interpreted through architecture, abstract forms, personal structures, documentary and industrial systems. The coherence of the final selection of works reflects instead on the relationships between lived spaces and the individual.

For more information on the above artists please check out the following websites:
Yona Friedman www.naipublishers.nl/architecture/friedman_e.html
Wolfgang Paalen www.paalen-archiv.com
Hans-Peter Feldman www.303gallery.com
Paul Ferman www.paulferman.com
Marko Peljhan s-77ccr.org.

Selection of images from the exhibition