Sharon Kelly, Aoife McCann: Lebensfries

'Lebensfries'- Sharon Kelly, Aoife Kelly-McCann. 02- 21 July 2012.

Opening hours from 17-21 July: Tues- Fri 1-5pm, Sat 11am-3pm.
Opening: Friday 20 July, 6-8pm
In art history, the subject and format of the ‘Lebensfries’ (Frieze of Life) is distinct: a series of paintings, frescos, sculptures hung up high around the walls of a room, depicting all stages of life, from birth to death: a frieze as architectural decoration and a sequence of highly charged images about the human condition.
Sharon Kelly was invited to experiment, how this traditional form- both as subject and spatial display- could be revitalized.
As a first step, the artist included her daughter Aoife in the project, now a mother and daughter collaboration which indicates the autobiographical path towards the subject.
A field, where the two artists have run for many years, provides the landscape for an exploration of time passing, memory and the mapping of a shared and ever changing dynamic.


Work in progress
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Lebensfries’ - the frieze of life.
Text by Aoife Kelly-McCann

Initially what came to both our minds was the image and memory of hill training sessions - the repeated laps of hilly terrain that we would endure every Saturday morning as part of running training. Its highs and inevitable lows seemed like an analogy for life itself. It would appear that both resources and the sourcing of this project would originate from this location.

Working with combined memories of this place and experience has brought forth imagery and choice of materials - a falling or rising drawing in charcoal at a glance, is a figure in movement or state of transition. Passing trees when running the image for us evolves from wood of tree to paper or raw material of wood, becoming ladders, then into outreached hands - continual cycle of matter.

Forward footsteps when running become a step back in memory; thoughts trawl the past; garments and items representing different memories are used. The positioning of these in the space mirrors the highs and lows of the hilly terrain. Beginning with figure and wood and ending with a reflective surface – mirror.
The grass stops at the river.

Matter becomes memory as memory becomes matter. Opaque items take on a transparency as something more can be seen from and between them. As the rivers of life flow we are constantly pulled into the past and pushed onwards into the future. Each day an item has one meaning which transits to another. A cycle ends to begin again.

Shoulders back, breathe, relax, breathe, breathe. A quickening of step leads to a quickening of surroundings as with each new footstep trees and shrubbery that began as clearly depicted, dissolve into a (murky) blur. Single branches become embedded in a mass. Running. The present continuous. On going, keep going, keep going. Soft grass begins to alternate into uneven surface. A straight run slowly ascends. Flat bases turn onto toes. Little short touches now. Ascending, ascending. Gradually. Keep going. Breathe, shoulders back. Breathe. The top. Breathe. Upright. End.

Begin again.




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