Today we have a conversation with Irish artist Richard Carr who is known for his art installations where sound plays a big part. Born in Dublin in 1987, Richard has become a prominent figure throughout the Irish art scene with his work being showcased and published in galleries an magazines. In this interview Richard talks about the art scene in Ireland, the use of space and dimension in his work and his upcoming projects.
If you could describe your art in one word what would it be?
Could you tell us a bit more about the art scene in Ireland?
The art scene in Ireland is small and exists in various compact pockets around the country. Obviously Dublin City would be considered its centre and gets most of the attention, however, Limerick City is doing well for itself and proving a thriving up and coming art scene hosting EVA (Ireland’s Biennial for Contemporary Art). It will also be interesting to see how Galway transforms from winning the European Capital of Culture Bid 2020; hopefully, there will be positive long lasting impacts in this region for Irish Artists.
Due to Ireland’s small and arguably under-developed art scene, opportunities for Irish Artists are limited. However, there are curators and galleries I really admire for persisting to remain and champion the art scene in this country like; Mother’s Tankstation, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Green on Red and the Kerlin Gallery. These are however all located in Dublin City.
Outside of the cities can be a different story. While lots of artists themselves populate the peripheries and countryside of Ireland, very little regarding basic physical infrastructure exists. Funding can also be an issue both in and outside cities, and while the Arts Council of Ireland is doing a fantastic job, distribution of funds is still an issue. For example, while the county I currently live and work in (County Wexford) receives a large amount of funding from the Arts Council it all goes to two organisations.
So while it could be said that cultural pockets exist across the country, Ireland is certainly not culturally infused. The current government have however recently published that they will be implementing a five-year strategy (Creative Ireland) with the aim of placing creative and cultural infrastructure at the centre of Irish life, so I suppose we will have to wait and see how/if this develops.
How has growing up in Ireland shaped you as an artist?
While this is a difficult one to pin down or put into words, I do believe growing up in Ireland as an artist is quite a unique experience and believe that this can be witnessed by looking at Irish Art history in comparison to the more dominant central European or American histories for example. If I was to attempt to put a word on how it has shaped me I could say ‘resourceful’, outside of this it’s probably as complex as the history of the island itself.
Most of your work plays with space and dimension, has that always been the case?
I believe it has in some way or another, but it is probably over the last six or seven years that utilising sound as a central medium has become prominent in my work. Central to my practice are enquiries into a listening sensibility as a critical practice and sound as a spatial and sonic material. Alongside this, I have an interest in the history of sound work within the gallery space and its curatorial implications. Combining these in some way has led me to utilise my ears as a primary decision-making tool during the process of making work in the studio and working with the space of the gallery itself when exhibiting a number of sound installations/objects together etc. More recently my work has combined recording methodologies from the 19th century, such as binaural sound with more contemporary sound apparatus such as the Audio-spotlight systems. Working within these methodologies has allowed me to work with the medium of sound in a very spatial way. For example, the Audio-Spotlight systems allow you to beam sound across a space while keeping the surrounding space in relative quietness. Therefore they have allowed me to approach the medium of sound from quite a sculptural perspective.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
I am working on a number of projects at present and am currently in discussions in relation to a couple of upcoming exhibitions in Ireland and the UK for 2017 and 2018. I can’t say much more about these at this time, but you can keep an eye on the news section of my website where further details will be released in due course. www.richardcarr.ie