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Artist: Carl Giffney, Artist in Residence, 2012/13

Title of Exhibition: 'PEINT'

Date: Friday May 24th - Thursday June 6th, 2013

Exhibition Images:


About the Exhibition:

PEINT took place across a three month period spent on residency at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre. For this project Carl Giffney inhabited and performed roles that have to do with resources and their collection. The roles the artist chose to enact are common to the local area and ones that he claims 'have been both idealised and stereotyped at the same time’. They included the Arigna Coal Miner, the Scrap Metal Dealer, the Wild Cat Oil Driller, the Lithium Chemist, the Barytes Miner and the Tinker. 

The outcome of PEINT is a solo exhibition that features a 55 minute HD video that documents and explains the process of engaging with three local materials: Barytes, Lithium and Coal. These three materials are ultimately manufactured into a radioactivity stopping paint (or peint) that is presented in the exhibition. The exhibition also lays out the story of this process physically in the gallery with the materials and equipment that were collected and built during PEINT. 

Artist Statement:

Empirical research, as apposed to academic research, is central to my practice and I believe that direct engagement with people as audiences and participants is important. As art can be truly effectual, I question the logic of making art from a singular perspective for those who seek to encounter it. As a result of these positions, I work, as a visual artist, in diverse settings, which, in the past have ranged from coal mines to a sea horse farms, and from art galleries to motorway lay-bys.

In contrast to the variety of my approaches and their outcomes, my art practice consistently aims to investigate social capital- and social capitals: how, why and when they form, change and interact. Social capital is a wealth that is created by interactions between people and the cohesive networks that they form. As opposed to economic capital, it does not have a monitory exchange value, and this sometimes brings it into conflict with organisations with goals of economic profit. All social capitals are formed and emerge through repeated relationships with other people. I am interested in examining the material outcomes of these encounters and systems of exchange by participating with, interrupting and activating the physical structures that typify them.

The commonality to be found across the broad spectrum of social capitals is the creation of collective senses of purpose, belonging, righteousness and security. Comparatively, in other cases the evident longing to actively build up new, more relevant models of social capital takes this place. I believe that social capital is essential to our existence.

My investigations in this project were originally influenced by the acute fluctuations that continue to be visible in Ireland, their ongoing outcomes, and the writings of Emile Durkheim. Travel and variety continues to be integral to this investigation.

Finally, I feel that I should mention that I find it crucial to be in tune with other people’s presumptions and prejudices. Often by enacting roles that are aimed to be stereotypical, I find that real work can be achieved by expanding and altering familiar relationships that other people are well versed in. My aspiration is not to bewilder people, which has become all too common, but rather to communicate with them in the broadest sense of the word and make things that do justice to the generosity, curiosity and insight of others.