OFF THE BODY

Dublin, Ireland : 1984

Performance/installation in the remains of the Project Arts Centre.

21 July 1984


 

The Project Arts Centre in Dublin was victim to a suspected arson attack in April 1982 – the fire left the building in ruins, with records and exhibition items decimated. MacLennan chose the site as the stage for his performance/installation for the Irish Exhibition of Living Art 1984. The work incorporated the remains of the Centre and its accumulated detritus since the fire with his own additions of dead fish, animal heads, felt crosses, false teeth, stool pigeons. Dressed in black and with his face painted black, MacLennan’s figure merged with the blackened, burnt walls.

‘In some previous installations ordinary things were given an “heroic” existence as art. That is not the case here. Rather, the insecurity of presence holds the key to the dominant meaning: letting the human form appear and merge with the environment constitutes a visual investigation into what is “life-size”, what the role(s) of a body in relation to other scales is.’

Text from ‘Alastair MacLennan: Is No’, ed. Stephen Snoddy, 1988.