Opening Tuesday March 8th, 6-8 pm
Spencer Brownstone Gallery is delighted to present 'Holylands', a three-channel video installation by Northern Irish artist Seamus Harahan. Harahan's work focuses on everyday life. His subject is largely the city of Belfast, captured on film in an elegiac and offbeat manner that provides a startling contrast to the predominant media representations of the city over the past thirty-five years.
For 'Holylands', the artist gathered footage shot over a period of two years within a short distance of his home in the 'Holy Lands' district of Belfast. The thirty minute film depicts people and events of the neighborhood in a fragmentary, almost hypnotic manner: strange, possibly criminal goings-on at night; a drunk staggering into the path of an oncoming bus; kids playing at an open water main; soaring jumbo jets that promise escape; and the passage of the seasons reflected in the meager vegetation outside the artist's home.
Overlaying the footage, 'Holyland's' thrillingly eclectic soundtrack delivers an intense proto-commentary on what is seen. Traditional Irish music sits alongside dub reggae, hip-hop, the vintage electronica of Wendy Carlos, and the blistering guitar assault of Godspeed You Black Emperor - to name just a few. The soundtrack serves to draw us into the work, employing the emotive power of music to suggest a particular narrative entry - before another abrupt edit moves the piece on again.
This is Seamus Harahan’s first solo exhibition in New York. Previous exhibitions have included solo shows at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow and Project Arts Center, Dublin; and group shows at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and Lux Center, London. Harahan is representing Northern Ireland at this year’s Venice Biennale, opening in June.