Alan Phelan

Echos toujours plus sourds

Alan Phelan

Centre Culturel Irlandais is delighted to present “Echos toujours plus sourds” in conjunction with PhotoSaintGermain. This exhibition by artist Alan Phelan which brings together a selection of his unique Joly Screen photographs and a music video work. Over the past three years, Phelan has worked on reviving a forgotten colour photography process invented in the 1890s by Dublin physicist John Joly; this short-lived process used screens made of red, green and blue lines in conjunction with black and white film. Phelan imagines a visual history this invention never had. To do this, he uses art and historical references spanning over 500 years. The work presents a “counterfactual temporality”, a longer potential history for photography that contextualises it prior to its technical beginnings. Arranged in sequences that mix floral, self-portraits and objects, the photographs’ titles acknowledge their source while creating a new story. Re-narrativisation and the echo of history pervade Phelan’s practice; in this case, familiar tropes are masterfully used to tell a story of invention, failure and love.

Rewatch the conversation between the curator Ruth Carroll and the artist Alan Phelan below:

Image : Alan Phelan, Joly Screen photograph, 2019


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