Every month we ask the same set of questions to someone collaborating with us. Over the last two years, we have interviewed diverse members of the Glucksman community - artists, academics, staff members, guests, audiences and workshop participants. The responses are funny, inspiring, revealing and always a great read.
This month, we feature artist Ciara Rodgers who is part of our education team and currently facilitating art workshops as part of the Glucksman’s community project with Cork Pride.
What are you reading?
I’m currently sneezing my way through a dusty old original copy of The City of Beautiful Nonsense, E.Temple Thurston, 1909. I picked it up at an antiques store as an art student years ago but only beginning to read it this week. It uses wonderfully descriptive and sentimental language to describe the everyday mundane- here is a line I love: “The colours it displayed, the brilliant flame of that pyramid of oranges, those rosy cheeks of the apples, that glaring yellow cluster of bananas hanging from a hook in the ceiling……..combined to make that little greengrocer's shop in Fetter Lane the one saving clause in an otherwise dreary scheme. ...”.
Oh that has got to be the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. I have many connections with Spain as a country and I am very moved by historical Spanish art, particularly Surrealism. I have many favourites in the museum including Guernica, a huge 1937 oil painting on canvas by Pablo Picasso, regarded by many art critics as the most moving and powerful anti-war painting in history.
Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman at the Everyman in 2016. The set design, live acting, everything about it was so immersive, I particularly enjoyed Gary Lyndon’s performance as Ariel.
Most treasured possession?
My polaroid camera collection is very precious to me. My favourite is a refurbished 1980’s Sun600 that my fiancé bought for me last year. It is boxy in shape, loud, quite clunky and creates wonderful, magic instant images. It is great that the Polaroid factory is back up and running these days so I can access film easily (though it is still quite an expensive hobby/practice).
Work(s) of art that inspire you?
Man Rays Indestructible Object, of which he made many versions between 1923 and 1933 (the original was destroyed) has such a rich history and it has inspired me greatly over many years, so much so that I have it tattooed on my forearm! It consists of the combination of a metronome with a photograph of an eye affixed with a paperclip to the swinging arm. The origin story of this assemblage piece goes that the artist had a metronome in his studio which he set going when he painted, its ticking noise regulated the frequency and number of his brushstrokes. The faster it went, the faster he painted; and if the metronome stopped, then Man Ray knew he had painted for too long, the painting was then no good, and he would destroy it. A painter needs an audience, so he also clipped a photo of an eye to the metronome's swinging arm to create the illusion of being watched as he painted. One day he did not accept the metronome's verdict, the silence was unbearable and since he had called it, with a certain premonition, Object of Destruction, he then smashed it to pieces!
Coming back again to the Reina Sofía in Madrid, I could stand for hours in front of their enlarged, one-of-a-kind copy of Indestructible Object made in 1982 from a design by Corominas Farré and Ramón Yvars which is on permanent display. It really is quite mesmerising in its sound and movement at a human- sized scale.
While lockdowns forced me to make art on a much smaller scale while the studios were closed, it also made me rethink and appreciate the value of smaller or miniature artworks, I have been experimenting with some film making too. My work has changed out of necessity and perhaps will now develop differently, I just couldn’t handle being on pause and needed to adapt to the situation.
I like to watch some trashy reality television to zone out sometimes -most recently “Selling Sunset” on Netflix.
What would you like to be doing right now?
I’d like to be attending a group exhibition which I’m currently part of in the city of Lugo, Spain, titled ATLAS DEL ARTE ESPAÑOL at O Vello Cárcere de Lugo which runs from June- October 2021. The exhibition is housed in an impressive Panopticon Prison building and I’m really looking forward to travelling there, hopefully in September when I have time in between projects, pending Covid19 restrictions.