John Gerrard 2013

Cuban School

The first Irish showing of two recent works by John Gerrard consolidates his reputation as one of Ireland's most innovative and internationally respected artists working today. Recent shows include the Venice Biennale and Manchester International Festival, and his work has also been seen onstage at the Royal Opera House in London.

The two large-scale digital projections presented for his Festival exhibition are meticulous slow-moving 'virtual portraits' of schools constructed in the 1960s Cuban countryside.

The original schools were part of an ambitious education programme by the Cuban government to mix work and study. The disappointing results of the programme and the lack of resources are reflected in the decaying conditions of the buidling. The structures were not abandoned however and Gerrard has reffered to them as 'functioning ruins'. As a group made up of members of staff and students struggles to keep them going against all odds. The schools have however effectively been closed since the making of the work.

Gerrard's attention was intially drawn to the strangeness of their architecture in the landscape and their dilapidated appearance. The Cuban School pair is part of a series of works that have focused on architechtural and industrial structures. Both works are infinite in duration and powerfully mark the melancholic demise of a political vision.

This is his first major Irish exhibition since 2007.