Michael Boran, Michael Durand and David Farrell at Central Bank Dublin: The Bank
Three of Ireland’s leading photographic artists provide a fascinating insight into the world of the CBFSAI from their own individual perspectives. Michael Boran, David Farrell and Michael Durand were selected to participate in the Bank’s 2006 Art Project. Each artist was commissioned to produce a body of work with consideration to any aspect of the Bank; its architecture, location or its social environment. The artists were granted access to all levels of this landmark building and organisation and each took up the challenge in their own way.
Michael Boran’s work focuses on the Plaza and steps. It reveals the secret poetry of fleeting moments captured as people go about their everyday business. A man looking in his wallet shows the keepsake snapshot inside. People entering and leaving the building make bold patterns against the steps, playfully mirroring the graphing of economic ascent and descent. Upstairs, an office worker glances away from her computer against a panoramic vista of the city’s changing skyline.
Facts and figures feature prominently in Michael Durand’s engaging series of portraits of Central Bank staff, Statistical Portraits. Durand has portrayed each person with a pile of decommissioned (shredded) money. The size of the pile of cash corresponds to a statistic of the person’s choosing: from €1.45 (the average annual donation to charity by Irish people) to €700,000 (the cost of a new Mercedes Maybach)… The result is a dynamic and exuberant series of portraits where individual personalities are allowed shine through. Durand’s work, which occupies the entire upper gallery, concludes with a site-specific installation made from approximately €2million in decommissioned euro notes.
David Farrell presents When a Building Sleeps, a series of photographic prints and video works shot inside the bank after office hours. Farrell deftly sets up a set of relationships – between reflection and reality; interior and exterior; and daytime and nighttime – which are played out over a sixty-minute realtime video piece. Like the building’s suspended floors, the work conveys a sense of weightlessness: the viewer seems to float or hover over the city. Its dreamlike quality is instilled with an underlying sense of surveillance. Oblique references to a kind of ghost story keep the viewer hooked into a sustained meditation on the nature of time.
The exhibition is co-curated by Patricia Clyne-Kelly and Tanya Kiang. It is accompanied by a full-colour catalogue, with a foreword by John Hurley, Governor of the Central Bank (see attached), and critical essays by Declan Sheehan. It is available in the Gallery Bookshop at €5.
About the artists:
Michael Boran (b. 1964, Portlaoise) studied at NCAD. Boran has held many exhibitions including The Sun Propeller (Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, 2005), Arco (Madrid, 2006) and The Palace of Bubbles (Gallery of Photography, Dublin, 1999). His work the collections of AIB, The Arts Council and The Office of Public Works, among others. He is represented by Kevin Kavanagh Gallery. Contact: www.michaelboran.blogspot.com or www.kevinkavanaghgallery.ie
Michael Durand (b.1969, Waterford) studied photography at IADT, Durand has held exhibitions in National Photographic Archive (Dublin); Artotec (Grenoble) and the Gallery of Photography. He has been commissioned by numerous institutions including The European Central Bank (Frankfurt), the Mater Hospital (Dublin) and The European Commission (Brussels). Contact: email@example.com
David Farrell (b.1961, Dublin) has exhibited widely in Europe and the US. He received the European Publishers Award for Photography in 2001 for ‘Innocent Landscapes’ and in 2004 participated in the European Eyes on Japan project. Crow‚ his collaborative multimedia film with composer Benjamin Dwyer was premiered at the National Concert Hall Dublin in 2005 and he was one of the invited exhibitors at this year’s FotoFest in Houston. His photographs are in a number of public and private collections including The European Central Bank and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Contact: www.davidfarrell.org
Introduction to THE BANK
by John Hurley, Governor of the CBFSAI
For those of us who work in the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland, official exposure to a lens means only one thing – a news camera. The image is a regular one: a journalist stands in the Plaza and summarises our latest view of the economy or the financial sector. Our own focus is mainly on the words. We want the nuanced message to come across to our audience. We may not appreciate that, in this very visual age, the people walking across the Plaza, the imposing building in the background and, indeed, Crann an Óir in the foreground also become part of the message.
This exhibition is exclusively visual and filtered through the individual perspectives of three very talented artists. Is this how a shopper, hurrying across from Henry Street to Grafton Street, might see us? How does a foreign banker, coming up the steps for the first time to a meeting, see us? We have nearly a thousand people working here: how do they see themselves?
The individual perspectives will always vary, depending on knowledge or interest. What is common is the very striking building set down in one of the most interesting localities in Dublin. What used to be almost exclusively the domain of banks, stockbrokers and insurance companies now holds the largest concentration of cultural institutions and facilities in the country, together with a bustling mixture of retail and tourist outlets.
Hopefully, the CBFSAI has become imbued with the best of the Temple Bar atmosphere. Last year, we worked with the European Central Bank to mount a major exhibition of Irish art in Frankfurt; 23 painters, sculptors and photographers were represented. This year, we have announced a sculpture competition with a view to commissioning some major work for the site behind the Tower Block. We hope that this will generate a worthy corollary to Crann an Óir. All of this reflects a wish to increase our support, as a State institution, for Irish art and artists.