We Only Want the Earth! is an exhibition of contemporary Irish artists.

Over the course of two months, politically motivated Irish artists’ work appears at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery informed by the officialness of Irishness and the Irish state, and the absurdo-political methodologies of Dadaism both tracing their origins to 1916.

New events take place every Thursday. The show is never complete . It constantly evolves, and ends in its own overproduction. Works include: a frieze comprised of politician’s handshakes, a reading room, video documentation of the destruction of a BMW, the poetry of market forces, a publication, a ‘deflated’ Classical column, a lot of spilt milk, a reading of Finnegan’s Wake, a live mash up of the Uileann Pipes and Oasis, and tea and scones with the Irish Consul General at the closing event.

Additionally a Dadaist styled publication will be produced during the course of the exhibition by Michaële Cutaya, Ella de Burca, and Jim Ricks and will be available in Adobe Books afterwards.

This exhibition problematizes the conversations that shape national identity. The title of the show “We Only Want the Earth!” comes from the writings of James Connolly, an Irishman and leading Marxist Revolutionary of the period. In 1916 there was the first modern revolt for the independence of Ireland, which failed. The centre of Dublin was leveled in the conflict, and the leaders were executed, including Connolly–in his wheelchair. The mood in Ireland had changed and the more successful War of Independence occurred 6 years later. This ‘Easter Rising’ has become part of the official state narrative as evidenced by the widely celebrated centenary in 2016.

As the small gallery blooms into a maximalist installation, the works will relate back to the current state and mood in Ireland post-financial boom: lingering austerity measures, civil liberties, the looming crises of reactionary Nationalism from both the US and the UK and the struggle to legalize abortion. As such, themes of national identity, artistic value, and financial capital are prevalent. All of the artists work intimately with complex political issues revealing different sensitivities through skillful actualization.

This project is supported by Culture Ireland, a Southern Exposure Alternative Exposure Grant, and Adobe Books.

The Artists

Dr. Mark Curran lives and works in Berlin and Dublin. He completed a practice-led PhD at the Dublin Institute of Technology (2011). Incorporating multi-media installation informed by ethnographic understandings, Since 1998, Curran has undertaken a cycle of long-term research projects, critically addressing the predatory context resulting from the migrations and flows of global capital.

Michaële Cutaya is a writer, researcher and editor on art living in County Galway. She writes essays and reviews for Irish publications in print and online. She co-founded Fugitive Papers and is co-editor of CIRCA Art Magazine with Marian Lovett.

Ella de Burca creates visual juxtapositions between action and language, treating language as an object, and objects as languages. She warps, swops, and pops their positions as she works with subversion to unearth the subjectiveness of memory and interpretation. Her installations are conceived for specific occasions, disappearing after they are exhibited.

Catherine Delaney is a member of Aosdána. One of her most recent large scale public art works, commissioned by Breaking Ground for Ballymun Regeneration consisted of 2,500 square feet of the pooling of poured silver aluminium which had been cast and embedded into the ground. 

Doireann Ní Ghrioghair graduated from Chelsea College of Art & Design, London in 2010. Classical orders proliferate Western cities and aesthetically they function as signifiers of power. Taking latex casts of various architectural details of Georgian period buildings in Dublin and then casting them in plaster in an unsupported latex mould, the pillars became flaccid and deflated.

Sean Lynch represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015. In addition, he has recently held solo exhibitions at The Rose Art Museum, Boston, Modern Art Oxford and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. He is a collector and story-teller via his conceptual works focusing on the frequently absurdly political conditions of Ireland today.

Tom Molloy produces drawings, sculptures, and installations, whose economy and delicacy belie the darkness of their subject matter, which is centered upon the human cost of geo-politics. With America as an enduring focus, he unflinchingly examines the destructive toll of political and economic ideologies, ranging from fascism to capitalism; wars, from WWII to America’s war in Iraq; and mass media culture.