‘I will go there take me home’ was an exhibition curated by Derry-based Gregory McCartney. It is part of MAC’s Guest Curator Programme – offering independent curators the opportunity to curate a major exhibition for the MAC galleries
The exhibition showcases the work of Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie, South African artist Pieter Hugo and Polish artist Olaf Brzeski.
It was a fascinating show to see, Gregory McCartney became the curator after attending the organisation’s curatorial development program and brought three artists from completely different disciplines, a painter a photographer and a sculptor/installation artist. As a viewer I could direct an overarching theme of ruin, conflict, societal breakdown.
The layout in the MAC can be quite confusing and although I have been to a few shows there never seems to be a starting point for any exhibitions, with this one I would have suggested starting from the bottom to view Olaf Brzeski’s Spontaneous Combustion as a potential beginning to any suggested chronological order, the pice os a striking rain based sculpture of a cloud, perhaps from an explosion, the mushroom top implies a strong up draft, potentially from an explosive device. The room itself is bare aside from the smoke sculpture and demands an instant reaction from the audience. I have to say the sculpture looks less impressive from up close were you can clearly make out the material but from afar and in pictures it looks really striking.
The work I did view first was Adrian Ghenei’s paintings, Ghenis style is certainly contemporary, a similar blurred style to painters such as Alex Kanevsky with an emphasis on movement and dynamics. Ghenei’s pantings carry the same dark tones as the Brzeskis piece, parts almost photographic in their realism adjacent to thick daubs of paint. It is after seeing Pieter Hugos work that the connection between the artists becomes most apparent. The impeccably framed and beautifully shot photographs of labourers in Ghana and actors and stuntmen in Nigerias ‘Nollywood’ film industry have a desolate, post-apocalyptic feel to them. They almost play on any racial stereotypes of african nations as being ‘poor’ and ‘uncivilised’. Antiquated themes of voodoo and animal sacrifice are abound, but they are actors, simply playing their roles from the photographer.