National Tour: ADRIFT by visual artist Els Dietvorst
Curated by Catherine Bowe and Karla Sánchez Zepeda
Commissioned by Wexford Arts Centre
Exhibition Dates: 16 March – 11 May 2024
Location: Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.00am-4.30pm
Wexford Arts Centre working collaboratively with Uillinn – West Cork Arts Centre, Highlanes Gallery and Wexford County Council are delighted to present the next stage of the tour ADRIFT, with the work of Els Dietvorst. The tour, curated by Catherine Bowe and Karla Sánchez Zepeda, presents a coherent overview of the artist’s extensive and multifaceted oeuvre in addition to new pieces. It began at the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda in 2023 and will now be exhibited at Uillinn – West Cork Arts Centre from Monday 18 March to Saturday 11 May, before continuing to Wexford Arts Centre and Wexford County Council in October.
In this iteration of ADRIFT, Dietvorst continues to explore and reflect through her work the limits of human existence – how we relate to nature and how we relate to one another, as the quality of such relationships will determine the type of possibilities we can all create for our future. The exhibition will include drawings, sculptures, installations and films that the curators selected specifically in response to the space at Uillinn.
Els Dietvorst’s practice is remarkably diverse and comprises drawings, prints, sculptures, installations, films and documentaries, performative actions, and one-act plays. The motivating factor behind this activity is the desire to connect, develop relationships, and collaborate with others. As the artist states ‘For me, creation is a collective process, inclusive and permeable to the world, to the living and the dead, to small neglected objects as well as to each other’s ideas.’ Towards this end, Dietvorst uses dialogue, experiment, intuition, and collaboration as artistic strategies.
The title ADRIFT is a metaphor for how the artist sees our contemporary world as being not anchored but floating freely without a sense of purpose or direction. Showing an appreciation for what we usually consider to be different, undesirable, or inferior, Dietvorst explores life histories, interpersonal dialogues, migration and cultural differences, human dreams and desires, and the human condition. She pays specific attention to the position of the outsider and focuses her gaze – sometimes over a period of several years – on people and events that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Els Dietvorst is a Belgian visual artist and filmmaker based in County Wexford. Her work has been shown and supported by organizations such as the Kaaitheatre, Brussels; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; M HKA Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp; and BAK, Utrecht as well as internationally in New York, Casablanca, London, and Vienna. She has been awarded international prizes such as the Evens Arts Prize in 2017, and more recently the Belgian Art Prize. In 2021, as part of the Belgian Art Prize, she hosted two exhibitions concurrently – This is what you came for – in Bozar and CENTRALE for Contemporary Art, both in Brussels.
Catherine Bowe, in her role as curator, has overseen the development of the visual arts programme for Wexford Arts Centre and projects of note include the Living Arts Project, Emergence Visual Art Award, and MAKE/curate Programme. In terms of her curatorial approach, she is interested in examining how we interact with the natural world, exploring the internal and external factors that influence us as we try to make sense of this relationship. This interest resides in the potential of art to alter our imagination to see new ways of cohabiting.
Karla Sánchez Zepeda is an art historian, curator, and cultural producer. She has participated in numerous educational, research and curatorial projects in Ireland. Her research interests are the environment, art education, the role of art in contemporary society, interdisciplinary collaborative practices, and the construction of the rural. Karla, who is also a farmer (regenerative agriculture), is the co-founder of Blackbird Cultur-lab, an experimental culture-laboratory that aims to provide a space for agriculture and the arts to meet.
ADRIFT will run at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre from Saturday 16 March to Tuesday 11 May 2024, and then travel to Wexford Arts Centre and Wexford County Council in October.
Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday from 10am-4.30pm (Closed Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays)
ADRIFT is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Flanders State of the Arts. It is run in association with ROSSINANT, Belgium.
For further information on ADRIFT or artist Els Dietvorst contact Ann Davoren – Director, Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre on +353 (0)28 22090 or email@example.com.
Image credit: I Watched the White Dogs of the Dawn (triptych – part II), 2018, digital film, 53 mins.