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4.10.2015.


You Like to Watch, Don’t You.

ANN MARIA HEALY

‘Your ass protrudes toward the malaise’

Eight Gallery, Dublin

23 October  –  5 November 2015

Image: Video still from

She drew a line in the glitter of her mind.

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29.10.2015.


Waiting for the Pillow Fight.

Yesterday, at Dublin's Eight Gallery, I experienced a “lightness of being” from Ann Maria Healy’s installation of video and props that weighed heavy on the senses.


Activated by audience movements, bubbles tumble down from a bubble machine placed above the gallery entrance. The bubbles, made from pun-ish and Pug-ish “faerie urine”, alight upon a soft sculpture made from crude slabs of foam and attic insulation. Bedtime stories come to mind. Pissy mattresses too. Reaching to rediscover my inner-child, and the loo, a video of an upside-down waterfall sprays into the heavens – an unusual but natural phenomenon caused by strong winds on the West coast of Ireland.  Cardboard packaging of a Humming-Bird-Feeder and broken slabs of foam and rock are found pinned to the gallery floor by bamboo shoots. I catch the word “taboo” inscribed on one of the slabs. 


Tree-trunk stools sit before the main video work, setting the scene for a trio of young women who wear white dresses and shower poufs for masks. In Healy's world the Pre-Raphaelites dabble in Dada. The women wander through a dandelion-dusted woodland doing and saying bizarre things that evade description and sense. Drunken muses for the likes of Wordsworth’s pen? There is something enigmatic about Healy’s type of thing – a thing I can’t quite put a finger on – if, you get past the cringe.


For instance, standing before a pond the three women hold some props and chant some poetry; something about fingernails planted in the ground... plants growing faster from your brain... in the landscape of the garden all the images have disappeared... no more apples falling from your tree. Italian Marxist Theorist, Franco Berardi, is mentioned in passing in the press release. But it is the muddle of verse rather than the prescription of some theory that keeps me turning over ideas and images in the gallery. Rhythm over sense is important here. The idea of something untouched, like a landscape, or a mind, is key too.


Healy’s world is similar to the collaborative exhibitions of Aoife Mullan and Niamh Forbes, Conor Mary Foy and Nicky Teegan, Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy, in which we find ourselves interpreting images that suggest civilization is ending, has ended, or is just starting over.


Failing to gather a modicum of common-sense, I find another sense, a palpable sense, that gravity is about to take hold at Eight. There's a storm brewing, and Healy's gestural frivolity and Victorian camp is about to be blown to Kingdom-come. But my forecast never manifests at Eight: the pillow fight never comes. The sun continues to shine. The waterfall continues to resist. The birds continue to tweet. The bubbles... the bubbles – this is the longest and lightest day. We are caught in limbo here; a ceremonial loop where hell dreams-up heaven. My kind of heaven, and hell...


[James Merrigan]


Through 5 November.