Inspired by a fragment of an old song, Golden Thread Gallery director Peter Richards had an idea for an entirely new kind of exhibition, one that could overcome the distances forced between artists and curators worldwide by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not Alone is an exhibition in a bottle, containing eight new works from some of the leading artists on this island: Graham Gingles, Joy Gerrard, Sharon Kelly, John Rainey, Chloe Austin, Ailbhe Greaney, Megan Doherty and Clare Gallagher. Each has created a piece of art tiny or portable enough to fit inside a glass bottle, yet powerful enough to convey vast philosophies, stories and ideas, and endless possibilities of interpretation.
Packed up, the exhibition will now be sent out into our strange new world to international curators who will each mount the exhibition/s in their own homes. Installing and arranging the works in their space as they see fit, they will each create a new configuration, new context and new connections for the exhibition.
They will then pack Not Alone back into its bottle, and send it on to the next destination. At this moment in time it is on its way to Bologna, Italy, where the first curator, Chiara Matteucci, is waiting.
And after that, it will go to Rome, and Amsterdam, then Stockholm, and then… to destinations as yet unknown. It may never return, but we will follow its journey around Europe and share each iteration of the exhibition on social media.
The sculptural piece On Crumbs of Shadow is a small sheet of tumble dryer lint. It consists of several layers of lint built up over repeated wash cycles, distinguished by the predominant colour of each laundry load, and containing other materials including hair from the artist's family's home haircuts. The piece is part of the larger body of work, The Second Shift. Along with the related video piece, It Clings to Me Like a Leech, it asks questions about the invisibility of domestic labour and the expenditure of effort on keeping things looking the same. It also concerns the denigration of care work and women's work in a culture which prioritises capital. These works attempt to make visible and tangible the energy and time spent on what is unnoticed, unpaid and unaccounted for.