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Title: Becoming text : art writing in Ireland 2009 to 2013
Author: Dwan O'Reilly, E. M.
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2013
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This project investigates writing about art in Ireland within the time frame of the research being carried out: 2009 to 2013. It contributes to the meta perspective, serving as a reflective tool in surveying practices of art criticism and writing about contemporary art in Ireland, and seeks to increase the possibilities for the field's future development. It begins with a reflection on the historiography of the practice, focussing on Irish modernism, and graduates to a discussion of current practices and debates, especially those around more experimental practices such as 'art writing'. It emphasises the present, the indeterminate state of play, as it constantly mutates and shifts; it illuminates possibilities for the development of the practice in future. The research includes and analyses interviews carried out with key practitioners in fields relating to writing on art, for the most part in the context of Ireland. This new material helps to chart the field more thoroughly than was heretofore possible. Through a re-imagining and reconceptualisation of the history of writing on art in Ireland in the present as an intricate interweaving of established histories with fragments of borrowed histories, such as the experimental methodologies and approaches to writing employed by Irish modernist writers James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Flann O'Brien, this research suggests that glints of experimentation can permeate present practices of writing on contemporary art as late modernist trajectories. Such a reconceptualisation and engagement with experimental modernist writing presents the possibility of the practice of writing on art being set in motion and its future path split, with one route veering into uncharted territory, thus transforming and increasing the possibilities for the future development of practices of writing on art. A rethinking such as this adjusts and widens the scope of approach and the understanding of present positions, creating a dislocated, heterogeneous, in-between space from which less traditional practices can emerge. Spaces are opened for the development of more experimental practices of writing around or with art, such as 'art writing' . Such practices, which defy neat definition, but rather blur boundaries, exist in-between, in the cracks and as minor, divergent practices within the major, established practices of writing on art. They are practices in a state of becoming. This research suggests that in the context of Ireland such writing practices can be cultivated through an awareness of the past, using it as a tool for development rather than as a theme, placing emphasis on an Irish experimental legacy in writing that can be appropriated by practices of criticism and writing on contemporary art in Ireland. As traces of the past are built upon and interwoven with histories in the present, that present is reshaped and transformed, thus new art writing may emerge, forging ~ew possibilities and developing self-confident, future-oriented, diverse practices and a new landscape of writing on art in Ireland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available