Saturday, September 26, 2009

Culture Night : Dublin Dreaming

Well that was fun. A beautiful evening, begun with the sinking sun creating a gorgeous glow over the city outskirts as I bussed into town.

Then off the bus into a pleasant Friday evening bustle, which built as the night went on. Spirits were high all round town, a very positive vibe. I started off dipping into Temple Bar for the buskers and the buzz, dropping into the Original Print Gallery to see a great selection of small works on sale for only 50 euro each! Well worth a look. They were busy getting messy in there, kids and adults making prints with great gusto. Swung up to the Gallery of Photography for a nice show by Eoin O Conaill.

A duck and a dive over Capel Street Bridge to visit the artists of New Art Studios, open for the evening. Nice work. Nice People. Chilled out on the bridge on the way back to watch changing animations on Liberty Hall as the night deepened. This worked really well from many vantage points, a beacon for the surrounding activities.

From there I skirted the Oxfam bookshop readings to Exchange, a convivial collaborative art space. Not much work on show, but a very mellow, chatty vibe. Bright young people in a pleasant, open work/exhibition space - one to watch! Up then through the traders on Cows Lane and on to Christchurch, soundtracked by its pealing bells being given a skilled harmonic workout. The flow of humanity building all the time - many languages, many children, much laughter. Music spilling throughout the city.

Avoided the sword-wielding medieval hawker at St. Audoen's Church - ploughed on to la Cathedral studios to chat to Mr. Alan Clarke, creator of unique gothic gorgeousness. Stayed for one of several ten minute performances throughout the evening - a silent, slim, rosy lady dispensing fairycakes to a scratchy cafe accordian track, with much quirky mannerism and humour, to the delight of the audience. Then down along Francis Street, bumping into good mates en route. Into Gallery Zozimus where French Graffito Jef Aerosol fumigated the space, working on the spot along with an 'archaeological' ceramicist, who incorporates shards of 19th century crockery into his work. On again, past the warm-throated, vestmented evangelical singers, to Portfolio, a gallery of incredible (and expensive!) designer furniture. Incongrously beautiful pieces, given the current economic climate.

Into the Cross Gallery, with two selections of mixed and interesting work on show. Dave Comiskey's lovely line drawings featured upstairs. The downstairs show, entitled 'nag', featured a Romance Confessional with a strong hen party vibe as (predominently?) ladies queued up to share their tales of romantic woe in a (video?) confession booth, guarded by a very dapper and charming gent who seemed to be a bit of a hit. Some excellent paintings throughout.

On again to Monster Truck where Brendan Flaherty featured, part of a series of painters entitled The Thing That Couldn't Die. Indeed. Perhaps. But by now this here thing was beginning to wilt a bit. With an enthusiastic troupe of samba drummers having replaced the gospel vibe, the street was booming as I headed back up to la Cathedral to hook up with the buddies, sink a couple of warm Sol beers and catch another few rounds of performance and chat, before heading to the Lord Edward Fitzgerald for a couple of proper, cold creamy pints. The streets were still mild and buzzing nicely as I headed back to Stephens Green to catch my bus home.

The final, synchronistic cherry on the cake was spotting a couple of striking figures by the recently deceased Edward Delaney in the window of James Adams showrooms. Amazing work! Entitled, King and Queen, these were over seven feet tall, bronze and sculpted with a construction process of tubed clay, creating a kind of honeycomb/canelloni effect in the torso - probably designed to keep the structures light and strong - and, in the process, creating inspired organic forms. Beautiful! Apologies for not having a photo - I was afraid I'd miss the bus! If you're near Stephens Green in the next little while, take time to check them out!

Whew! What a night! The bus ride home gave me a chance to absorb the whole groovy inexpensive jaunt - and I only skimmed the surface. Looking forward to next year already!