10 Sep – 9 Oct 2005

Mixing With The Sound

Orla Barry

W131 presents Orla Barry’s visual work. The work is rooted in language and signs and is driven by the tension between visual and literary representation.

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The artist (1969, Ireland - lives and works in Brussels) composes poetic prose - textual fragments that bring together philosophical meditations, casual thoughts and biographical fact as well as fictional elements and (nonsensical) sound associations. In her photographic series, publications, films and performances, Barry dwells on themes such as linguistic intoxication, proximity and distance, melancholy and frivolity, friendship and family relationships, the things that bring us together and those that keep us apart.

W139 organises the Dutch premiere of Barry's new film, entitled Portable Stones (2005), which was previously on view at SMAK in Gent (BE), and will be shown in Camden Arts Centre in London (GB) and in the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (IR). Barry has been working on Portable Stones as a production from 2003 till 2005. It can be seen as a fragmented, associative story dealing with two characters - a man in a shack on a northern beach and a girl in a tent standing in a deserted graveyard - who live in a kind of 'linguistic isolation' and who explore different forms of indirect communication. Barry works with the multiple meanings of words and gestures, with rhythms and audio-colours. This interplay makes the 63-minute film into a strongly atmospheric, visual poem.

Barry's W139 presentation also includes A Barmaid's Notebook (1991-2001) and Wideawake (2000), installations that show different ways in which she connects the literary/narrative with the visual/performative. Together, these three works show an interesting development in Barry's work, which moves towards the 'abstract-personal', or, as Chantal Ackerman once put it: "the more particular I am (as an artist), the more I address the general."