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Work of the Week | 2 August 2021

CAG.3084 Elaine Byrne, If We Can Winter This One Out, 2020, photographic print, 148 x 87 cm. Purchased, 2020. © the artist.

If We Can Winter This One Out (2020) is a photographic work by Elaine Byrne depicting a snowy mountain landscape and mechanised ski lifts against a deep blue sky. Two lines of text are burnt on and through the image.

For this, the artist used “customized branding irons to burn the text on the photograph so even though the image is an edition of three, each edition is unique as the exact conditions of burning the letters on the paper can never be replicated.”

The title and text are derived from the words of Seamus Heaney and, in particular, from an interview he gave in 1972 in reference to The Troubles in Northern Ireland. “With ski resorts partly blamed for the speed of the spread of COVID-19,” Byrne explains, “the photograph was taken just before the exodus off the mountain, while the use of typography creates an extra, layered meaning to the Seamus Heaney quote.”

Elaine Byrne is an artist who works multimodally. Based between Dublin and New York, she studied at Frink School of Sculpture, Stoke on Trent, University College Dublin, and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire. Her research-based practice examines overlooked histories, historical texts, and artworks as a platform to mobilize history as it relates to current political and social concerns. Employing sculpture, video and photography, Byrne focuses on opening new questions for the viewer to highlight present-day urgencies.

If We Can Winter This One Out (2020) by Elaine Byrne is featured in NEW THREADS: Acquisitions 2021 in our Gibson Galleries (Floor 1) until 5 September.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:


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