Idionumina from the 16th- 18th November 2012, at Hughes, Graignamanagh, Co. Kilkenny
Idionumina was a site-specific art event that brought an exclusive and exciting experience of contemporary art to the small town of Graignamangh, Co. Kilkenny. Curated by Deirdre Southey and Maria Tanner, 15 artists from across Ireland came to engage with the local community and history of the village.
This project emerged from a derelict 1850’s hotel, Hughes, and was experimental in it’s approach, creatively its concepts were not pre-known but were found through its engagement with space. Located in my home-town of Graignamangh, this hotel compelled me to dwell conceptually upon the symbolic meanings that people project onto space and how human history has carved the landscape, transforming space into place as it acquires definition and meaning. The exhibitions curatorial ideas gained inspiration from the extant historic remnants local to Hughes, such as a monastic font preserved in the stonewalls to the back of the building, dating to the founding of Duiske Abbey in 1204.
Idionumina becomes another pathway in the history of this building and its surrounding geography. If you strip these histories back, back before human alterations of landscape, to when this area was solely of a geographic domain, you can start to gain an understanding of the means through which social space is constituted. Collectively these pathways signify the courses taken by specific human beings where they performed acts of creation, transformation and destruction, intimate and experiential to the locality thus leading to the transformation of space into anthropic space.
It was important that the atrworks quietly altered the frequency of this place, so that the viewers could experience the artistic moment in its totality and not just by the viewing of objects in isolation. When working in such humanised spaces, site specificity comes to the foreground and site can possibly become the artwork itself. Some artists reflected upon how the building's inhabitants had re-shaped and utilised various rooms in the house to fulfil their own particular needs. For example Marie Brett and John Mc Harg’s ‘She Took To The Bed” was located in a bedroom that during old age many of the Hughes' family had lay down to die. Through the interruptions created by the artists, the residual energies dormant within the building were evoked. Site specificity now relates to lived experience and psychologically such connections cannot escape the viewers perceptions. Idionumina becomes both the home as a setting for art and the home as art in its own right.