"An interesting exhibition," Eimear McKeith of the Event Guide.
Looking at this body of work at first glance one could easily come to the conclusion that Lee Welch really adores himself. He may even live in a house of mirrors to dwell within his narcissistic obsession. I would find both of these conclusions to be superficial.
Since it has initial appearance in the Tallaght Community Arts Centre in Dublin it has been simultaneously exhibited in Soundworks, Art Trail (Cork, Ireland), the Big Bang in the Digital Hub (Dublin) and most recently in Broadway Cinema in Nottingham.Touching on ideas of quantum physics with the concept of a parallel universe, using each space to create near duplicates of again & again then each being sited in a new context.
There's a famous allegory about a map of the
world that grows in detail until every point in reality has
its counterpoint on paper; though the phenomenon captured is
time, not space, and the medium is digital memory rather than
paper and ink.*)
The one minute video
loop of Welch's attempt to capture the seemingly uncontrollable
transient of time employs a simple pose of the artist with a
detached almost unemotional expression that captures the inconspicuous
transformations of the day to day. He seems to be creating
a paradox well-known to new parents: Mom and Dad buy a video
camera expecting to document Junior's first years, only to find
that, while they do indeed shoot anything and everything, they
never get around to watching all they recorded. There aren't
enough hours in the day for such marathons of consumption.*)
Curators Cliodhna Murphy &
James Payne looked into dérives, which involved playful-constructive
behaviors, and awareness of psycho geographical effects, and
were thus quite different from the classic notions of journey.
A dérive could take place over a minute or even a few
days. In Welch's efforts, to regain some control and understanding
of the perception of time, it was one year condensed to 60 seconds
and his journey was one of time. This may well be a look
into the links of societies obsession with receiving and retaining
information as well as wanting to procrastinate the effects
of ageing in which he has created an evolving portrait through
a means of self-preservation.
piece, an old stereoscopic viewer mounted to the wall, uses
two images to create a 3-D portrait of the artist. Most people
fail to realize the two images observed are different. In fact
they are the alpha and omega of the work. When viewed
a transfusion of time occurs where the blurring of the past
and the nearer present forms a new identity. The stereo-scope
limits its viewing to one person at a time and forces the viewer
to lay one image upon another, completely or not so completely
different, image which forms a new apparition, one that only
exists through the viewer.
Meanwhile on the walls of the
galleries Welch uses a row of stills from each day of the video
in passport-sized photographs. When entering the space these
self-portraits are at every turn creating an analog video loop
through the viewers circumspection giving no indication as to
where it begins or ends. Jeff Wall said a picture is something
that makes invisible its before and after but here each fleeting
moment is exposed.
The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image, which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again. For every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably.**)
Our culture has become engulfed in its past and can make no use of it at all.*)
*) Jim Lewis
all photos by curtesy of the artist.