HOME: Kerry Guinan
Kerry Guinan’s photographs document the extremities of the housing market, portraying the lowest (€900 per acre) and highest (€5,000,000 per acre) priced plots of land for sale in Ireland during the housing crisis in December 2018.
As a postcolonial country, the land itself has a particular relevance within Irish culture as a marker of independence, autonomy, and self-determination. Guinan's photographic diptych Landscapes addresses the contemporary manifestation of this issue, with Ireland’s national identity and economy intricately bound up in ideals of private property ownership, a system which impedes upon ideas of public space and common goods, the sense of belonging and the fundamental right to a home.
The sites documented in the photographs, in Crohyboyle, Donegal, and Foxrock, Dublin, respectively, offer visual evidence of the arbitrary economic valuations that inform Irish properties, irrespective of social or aesthetic potential. The Crohyboyle location sits within an untouched bogland spanning to the distant horizon, while the Foxrock site is hidden behind corporate hoarding and anti-trespassing signage, with a strip of road in the foreground indicating access to its underlying infrastructure. The title of the work implicates the Western landscape tradition in the enduring fetishisation of private land, as outlined by John Berger’s influential book Ways of Seeing, and the ways in which his text highlights the history of landowners commissioning paintings to celebrate their property.