Amharc Fhine Gall - Unknown Knowns

The term Unknown Knowns which constitutes the title of this exhibition, is the description used by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek when he refers to the “unconscious beliefs and prejudices that determine how we perceive reality and intervene in it.” Things we know, but don’t know we know, dictate how we address situations we encounter. Obviously it is impossible to know what the unknown known is because if we did it wouldbecome the known known, but the work in this exhibition addresses the theme of unconscious knowledge.

The three artists in the exhibition have explored and represented specific elements of this through their practice. Shown through a diverse range of works, from the manipulation of materials that we know on some level are familiar to us, to the investigation into the possibility of another self and how this can determine our lives, to the idea of the second life and the attempt to survive for eternity, all three artists’ work delve into certain aspects of the unknown known.

With his latest work in the on-going series inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Andrew Carson explores notions of “online realities and virtual immortality”. This series derives from a particular chapter of the book which was written as a guide on how to survive the afterlife. It was written in order to prevent the deceased from “dying a second time”. The work draws parallels between contemporary social media interaction and ancient concepts of the soul; an idea which many people trust is known to them, yet, it is something which remains ephemeral and unknown.

Through her current work Sally-Anne Kelly is “exploring ideas about who we are, who we think we are, who we become, who others think we are, and who we present ourselves as being.” Her new series of photographs ‘The Hunted Self’ examines what we do not or cannot know about the self. She investigates the internal power struggle of the hidden and unknown self or double and how that can be realised as another or separate identity.

Lisa Shaughnessy’s practice is concerned with the physicality of the materials used and alludes to the processes used by the artist. The work presents ideas of construction and deconstruction. There is a blurring between the boundaries of painting and sculpture and what the viewer felt they knew about these materials becomes a little less certain but the fundamental qualities of the materials are still apparent. These known and familiar materials have been manipulated in such a way as to render them initially unknown.

The examination of this unknown known, equated by Žižek to the Freudian unconscious which recognises the importance of the unconscious in comprehending conscious thought and behaviour, creates a platform for this exhibition to reflect on the convictions of our knowledge and to propose that it is not vital for our existence to know that we have all the answers …

Fingal Arts Office is delighted to showcase recent local art college graduates with its annual exhibition opportunity Amharc Fhine Gall. The show seeks to increase the profile of emerging Fingal artists by giving them the chance to show in a professional, contemporary art space. It may be their first major show but with the professional presentation of their work and accompanying catalogue we hope it is the first of many. The opportunity also extends to the emerging curator who will work with the graduates to create a suitable context to show this work to a wider local and contemporary art audience.

Curated by Ailve McCormack