In January 2014, the VCCA (Centre of Contemporary and Modern Art) Vitebsk, Belarus invited me to to host a solo show as part of their International Artist program. My initial response was to create a body of work that reflected similarities between Belarusian and Irish/European traditional cultures. This led to research in folk art, medieval hunting imagery, traditional 17th century Russian Lubok wood-cut prints and Italian Renaissance art. The re-discovery of Botticelli’s Primevera (1492) influenced the use of plants and foliage as motifs to form new psychological ideas based on veiled or hidden meaning. Parallel to this, I began to resolve the technical aspect of producing the work through the use of Photography and Silkscreen on primed plywood. By March 2014 it became clear that the work was to take on a more psychological rather than a cultural direction. This was reinforced by a visit to the Centre of Contemporary Culture Barcelona (CCCB), where I had the opportunity to view the extraordinary exhibition Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Svankmayer and the Quay brothers – four key figures in animated film who drew on the phantasmagoric and grotesque. This experience further influenced me in creating imagery for Калі ноч палохае дзень, the result of which has personal meaning and is intended to invoke psychological memories and experiences in the viewer.
(His legacy and influence on western artists)
Selected and organized By Séan Hanrahan
in association with the V.C.C.A Vitebsk, Belarus
Participating Artists, Séan Hanrahan IRE,
Dominic Fee IRE, Josh Dannin U.S.A.
Standing in no.5a on Pravdy str. in Vitebsk on a September afternoon listening to two senior research staff members from the V.C.C.A (Vitebsk Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art) Marina Karman and Elena Gai explain about the historical nature of the building we were in, and the plans for its future, I was immediately struck by the importance of the surroundings I had found myself in. It was here Russian avant garde artist Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) formed UNOVIS – ‘The Affirmers of the New Art’ group in 1919. It was here also that he wrote and published some of his main theoretical writings, such as Suprematism: 34 drawings.This exhibition is the result of that September afternoon’s conversation and the expressed openness and enthusiasm by the director of the V.C.C.A Andrey Duhovnikov to the proposal of putting the project together. We consider this exhibition as a small beacon of the significant influence Kazimir Malevich has had on Western and Modern art throughout the past 100 years since he painted his Black Square, and of Vitebsk where he taught and wrote many of his theoretical works. I gratefully acknowledge the V.C.C.A and its staff for their support. I would like to thank and acknowledge the Artists involved, Dominic Fee and Josh Dannin who without hesitation got on board, and enthusiastically engaged with the project. I would especially like to thank Masha Falaleeva for her support, dedication and shared vision.
Séan Hanrahan June 2015
Pravdy 5a Banners hanging in the UNOVIS era working and living quarters of Kazimir Malevich
Main Exhibition V.C.C.A Vitebsk. On the walls Josh Dannin’s Proposition 06.00145. On the floor Dominic Fee’s modular ‘MonUment’ on UNOVIS era wooden floor tiles. Right, is the screening of the short film ‘Over the Sun’ projected onto blank canvas.