14 April – 8 July 2018
The 38th edition of EVA International takes its starting point from the painting Night Candles are Burnt Out(1927) by Irish artist Seán Keating. The painting presents an allegory of the Irish psyche at the advent of the construction of Ardnacrusha, a hydroelectric dam, built that same year on the border of County Limerick. Ardnacrusha was a symbol of early twentieth century engineering, which accelerated the Irish economy and radically shifted the society of the new state. Keating’s painting depicts a host of characters set against the backdrop of the construction site, whose lives are set to change by the dawning of a new era of technological progress.
Included in the exhibition, Night Candles are Burnt Out takes part in the dialogue of contemporary and historical artworks addressing narratives on nationhood, electricity, and the metaphors of power. Rather than a monolithic thematic exhibition, the biennial exhibition proposes itself as a kaleidoscope of essayistic, retinal and bodily narratives of artistic presentation, featuring: new commissions by Malala Andrialavidrazana (Madagascar/France), Sam Keogh (Ireland), and John Rainey (N. Ireland); large-scale installations by John Gerrard (Ireland/Austria) and Sanja Iveković (Croatia); works by modernist visionaries of the 1930s Mainie Jellett (Ireland) and Eileen Gray (Ireland/France); and the experimental approaches of artists from the late twentieth century, including Bruce Conner (USA) and Locky Morris(Ireland/N. Ireland). The generational scope follows a proposition by curator Inti Guerrero of thinking the biennial as a ‘temporary museum’ where the past is reframed to enable a critical perspective on the present.
The 38th EVA International has no title, breaking with a tradition of the biennial that dates back to 1990. This decision, taken by Guerrero is designed to emphasize the word ‘International’ that is central to EVA’s identity. Guerrero explains, “in our current state of nationalisms, hard-borders, protectionism and a complete change of course in humanity, where the liberal belief of a ‘never again’ seems to be dismantling, the word ‘International’ suddenly carries an important weight worth embracing. Since its foundation in 1977 in Limerick, EVA has been a forerunner in understanding the world through art in a transnational, transcultural, international dialogue, presenting its contradictions, anxieties and possibilities.”
The 38th EVA International includes the work of 56 artists/collectives. 32% of artists/collectives are from Ireland and 38 artists are from 27 other countries including The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Yugoslavia, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Iran, Egypt, Nicuargua, Chile, Nigeria, UK, Italy, Madagascar, South Korea, Lebanon, Venezuela, Panama, France, Thailand, Croatia, Colombia, South Africa, Cuba, Indonesia, USA, and Japan.
The 38th EVA International includes the work of seven past EVA participants: John Gerrard (2001, 2003), Rita Duffy (1999, 2001), Julie Merriman (2003), Isabel Nolan (1998, 2012), Sanja Iveković (2012), and Sam Keogh (2012).
The 38th EVA International will open to the public on Saturday 14 April with previews on 12 and 13 April.