Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tulca Visual Art Festival and the Outsider

Tulca and their logo have this really attractive urban, scratchy, film-reel feel to it. It's a good representation of my Galway winter; nostalgic, foreign and exciting in that urban way and cosy.

I feel like going to Tulca is mostly a formality. It's cultural and it's high-brow and I love art exhibitions and meeting enthusiastic artsy people so much but...I get the sinking feeling that it won't light my artsy fire. That I'll be dissatisfied. Another cynicism bomb dispells. Mostly because, besides giving in to my basic artistic tastes, I am always on the look out for two more things when I peruse a visual arts festival;

1. Public accessibility
2. The triumph of young local artists over the recession and over Art-World conventions

It would be totally unreasonable for me to suggest that the creators and instigators of Tulca didn't think to represent these in their festival. In fact, they did; I read the curator's piece in their programme. They're doing this whole theme of Landscape this year, which I am all over (as long as it's urban, of course, otherwise it's figurative art all the way). However I will be mercilessly hawking out the festival for the various gradients of these two factors, because that's my pathology. And Tulca is a fairly traditional and publicly funded arts festival and is not going to be nearly as accessible for the public and and youth-art-innovating arts festival...would be...

I'm approaching this with the gait of a real outsider, who has a measured interest in art and art shows, but is unfamiliar with any of the artists or the conventions in place. But who, all the same, knows what she wants.

Tulca Artists I'm looking forward to:

For all of the artists I searched whose name did NOT immediately pop up in google with a catalogue of your work; you should be thoroughly ashamed.

All of these artists feature the following tags – cities, decay, technical work, nostalgia. That's my melting pot of art-awesome right there. As beautiful as a Brazilian. As for the other artists in the festival, the descriptions in the lovely free booklet either didn't sway my interest or were far too dense and honestly, I got incredibly bored reading them. I'll let that speak for itself, really. I'll stay open-minded because art is great the way it does that to you and I will report back if I discover an absolute diamond in the rough.

In the artists I've chosen to get excited about, they feature visual art and photography. Not much video installation or sculpture.

I gotta say: I'm not big on video installations. They just don't do it for me. I appreciate video installations in this very forced and pained way, like I how I would react to one of our many aging relatives in nursing homes across England telling a mumbling, long-winded, dithering story that certainly has a lot of personal and historical importance and wisdom but invokes no interest in me whatsoever; “Oh, that's nice. That must have been a challenge at the time. Ooh. Obviously a lot of effort went into that endeavour. I appreciate your attempt to communicate with me and probably try and teach me something.” etc.

Of course I have my own wee gripe and bias about video installations being Versus-with-a-captial-V public accessibility. Video installations, along with performance art, serve as those very broad generalisation stamps that immediately give the elitism and hipster-ism labels. This of course isn't fair but, alas, public relations are public relations and artworld tropes are artworld tropes (can't wait until I can get into researching the meat of this reality, a la Sarah Thornton and her Irish equivalents).

Aideen Barry is an Irish performance artist who is really fucking cool and fantastical, however. She opened the ArtSoc exhibtion in 2010 *smug*.

I am already itching to do some gallery-hopping (oh the bliss) and I am also pining a bit for my amateur Galwegian artists and art admins who are as of yet undiscovered and un-art-festivaled and who lounge dejectedly in their mouldy semis exhaling pure gaseous Potential (one of the principal elements on the Artist Periodic table. Yes I will make an infographic of that) into the atmosphere, which I bottle and then breathe in surreptitiously at night time underneath my duvet.

The opening night itself was yesterday, I got some photos on the old camera phone, and had lots of wine like I had hoped.

Two pieces in particular stood out at the opening reception:

This is just mad.

It was all a bit too networky for me now BUT I was quite thrilled to be able to introduce a few people from various arty sectors in Galway too each other. It's always very encouraging to see art students from the local art school not clinging to each other and hudding in a ball of social awkwardness and seeing them chatting to that local youth art group that get a shit-ton of local funding or the to the various organisers and art show instigators. Yep. Great when that happens.

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