Let’s get visual - a view of Turner and beyond

Turner Prize 2013 winner Laure Prouvost with Saoirse Ronan at the  Awards Presentation at Derry-Londonderry, UK City of Culture 2013.
Turner Prize 2013 winner Laure Prouvost with Saoirse Ronan at the Awards Presentation at Derry-Londonderry, UK City of Culture 2013.

The Turner Prize was a let-down. None of the four pieces at Ebrington set off a rumbling of the soul. There was better art in local galleries.

Andrei Molodkin’s “Catholic Blood” at the Void sent dollops of gore spurting into perspex replicas of the Rose Window in Westminster, so it shimmied and juddered down in beaded swathes of pink and scarlet, the whole then projected onto the gallery wall in rippling images of blood-stained glass, representing, I think, the suppression of Catholicism in the making of Britain’s democracy.

Strangely disturbing, beautiful to behold, this was the single best piece of art on display during the year.


The Centre for Contemporary Art showed Jesse Jones’s “The Other North”, a moving, thought-provoking video piece, words taken verbatim and translated into Korean from a 1974 therapy session involving 11 Belfast people whose lives had been shredded by violence, played by Korean actors and filmed close to the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea.

Intimate to ourselves and unnervingly alien - just the way we feel when we dare to look back.


Colin Darke’s “The Year of the Revolution” at the CCA consisted of 200 paperback copies of Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg’s “The Accumulation of Capital”, laid out on the floor in 10 rows of 20.

The connotation at first glance was of the palettes of 100 dollar bills shipped into Baghdad in 2003 for funding “reconstruction”.

These were then collected from warehouses and flown straight back to the US for whatever malign enterprise seemed to promise biggest profits to entrepreneurial warriors of the age.

The jacket design and angular arrangement, on the other hand, conveyed order and organisation, the tumult of revolutionary ideas inside the covers in disciplined array for battle.

The dialectic in play.


Rosa would have smiled.

You have only a few days left to call into the To Let Gallery on the corner of William St and Rossville St. - Aggro Corner as was - for a striking exhibition of sculpture, paintings and photographs by the Cut Cast Quartet - George Doherty, Philip McFadden, Kevin McLaughlin and Jes McSparron .

The space is filled with mainly abstract and figurative contemporary pieces, referencing sculptural practice from ancient Egypt to Europe and America today. Colourful, cool, graceful and challenging, and, remarkably, all from Derry and Donegal. Catch it while you can. .


The mystery of the disappearance of City of Culture mascot Oakie Dokes has been solved!

Actor Bill Waters was sacked in the spring on budgetary grounds. It seems his £15 to £20 an hour was unaffordable…

Meanwhile, others were trousering £1,000 day for playing no apparent role other than provoking ill-will.

Others are still waiting for payment for projects which have come and gone.

There will be more than one aspect of “legacy” to keep track of next year.