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Abandoned Donegal art Exhibition Abridged 0 – 7:Abandoned Donegal

Abridged 0 – 7: Abandoned Donegal
Location: X-PO Kilnaboy Co Clare.
Exhibition runs from Oct. 24th to Nov. 11th
Launch Sunday 24th October 12 until 2pm.

Abridged 0 – 7: Abandoned Donegal is the next exhibition taking place in the X-PO, Kilnaboy, Co Clare. The exhibition is part of an ongoing curatorial project by Derry-based curator Gregory McCartney, who invited artist Denzil Brown make a photographic exploration and a visual archive of the architectural ruins of commercial decay and abandoned premises throughout County Donegal.

As the eyes (apparently) are to the soul, ruins are to the past and indeed to the present. This is especially the case with ‘modern ruins’ and contemporary abandonment with their implicit stories of hope and failure etched into their fabric. Ruins traditionally are concrete echoes of both hopeful and foolish schemes born of an entrepreneurship based on good or greed. They illustrate perfectly the strength and weaknesses of the human spirit, which is perhaps why we ascribe to architectural abandonment a certain romanticism. Though in the case of modern ruins we do not; they just come and go, usually without much fuss. What was once an integral part of village life is now just an eyesore with no remarkable features at all; its importance as a social and communication hub forgotten to everyone except the old. What was once a bright new industrial beginning is now a bitter heritage of failure. Romanticism is something that comes from deliberate planning, forgetfulness or dissatisfaction with the present. It is an integral part of the heritage industry. The recent past is no place for it. However a certain romantic melancholy creeps in under the doors at the sight of failure and these empty spaces thus reanimate with the half-life that art, theory and the empathy or revulsion of the human heart gives them. They live again. Never as they were though.
A free magazine Abridged 0 – 7: Abandoned Donegal will be available during the exhibition.

It is hoped that the Abandoned Donegal exhibition at the X-PO will prompt stories and memories about the rural ruins, farm buildings, light industrial units, small factories in the region for a future exhibition and publication, Abandoned Clare, which will take place at X-PO in 2011. Abandoned Clare is the next stage of this curatorial project, and the artist who started the project, Deirdre O’Mahony, is presently looking to identify, photograph, and archive the stories of ruins of rural enterprises in County Clare.

Whereas Abandoned Donegal focused on in the main urban commercial property the Clare project will see the focus shift to contemporary rural life as the economic and social factors that have forced the abandonment of the rural in favor of the urban are visually articulated and explored. These abandoned buildings provide a window to individual and community social histories; they tell the tales of the past through the architecture and objects left behind. This project is as much about the people as the buildings. The social implications of rural abandonment, the derelict post offices, pubs, industrial units, piggeries, mushroom factories etc, signify the declining services and potential loss to what are already isolated and vulnerable rural populations. Abandoned buildings and the accompanying abandoned land can also have an adverse effect on the environment and may also lead to the loss in landscape value, and of course, to access to this landscape.

This project will allow Abridged to continue its stated policy of innovative visual art/magazine collaborations with locally based artists and producing work that is artistically excellent and socially relevant and a magazine, Abridged 0 – 20: Abandoned Clare will accompany the Abandoned Clare exhibition in 2011.

Contact Senan Kileen 086-0551689 for more information.


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