The Irishman (Nostos: End Of Exile)

Denis Buckley
31 May - 12 July, 2013
Daily 11am - 6pm
Image: © Simon Bolt
Venue: Lower Hope Park Church Gallery
Since 2001 Denis Buckley has created a persona entitled “The Irishman” for use in performance, stills and a trilogy of moving image works. He returns with new work after his spectacular performance in the Summerhall courtyard for the 2012 Edinburgh Festival where he burnt a “long shovel” in front of a screening of the second film from his Irish Trilogy.

“The Irishman” comes from Philip Donnellan’s 1965 frank documentary of Irish emigration, The Irishmen: An Impression of Exile, where a young Irishman leaves Galway for London. Intercut with the young man’s journey are interviews with Irishmen already in London. The emigration of the Irishman in question was only for the purpose of the film, yet the suitcase he carries and the shovel he takes up are motifs found in Buckley’s films and performances.

Summerhall is one of the funders of the final film in the Trilogy.  Nostos: End of Exile is a single channel moving image work shot in London and Co Kerry. Nostos, the Greek term for Homecoming, applies to the completion of a journey, arriving back at the place one started out from. The accompanying audio, I have forgotten my love of God, is a spoken word call and response based on the experience of many Irishmen who died alone in England and railed against the teaching of their youth

Accompanying the film is a series of photo works “The Burning Shovel Series” showing The Irishman’s shovel upright and burning on the site of former working mines, defunct bogs and derelict beaches in Ireland. The artist has collaborated with Simon Bolt photographer on creating these images.
The exhibition signals the end for the artist of the persona, “The Irishman”.
The work has been supported by Summerhall, Killarney Arts, JW Walls.