Oscar Wilde has prompted many diverse responses, not least from the world of contemporary art. Wit, exuberant sensuality and aesthetic flair characterise this international group exhibition at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, which gathers some of the most engaging responses to Oscar Wilde’s writing and life.
From an Oscar Séance, performed in Wilde’s digs in Oxford (Neil Bartlett) to a child reading Wilde’s remarks on beauty (Mark Wallinger) and Yinka Shonibare’s multi-layered ‘costume dramas’, Wilde can be seen as a foil for visual celebration. He also serves, however, as a point of identification for and representative of those who have suffered for their sexual orientation or other convictions. Works by McDermott & McGough, Seamus Harahan, Hugh O’Donnell and Ines and Eyal Weizman (Celltexts) very differently address Wilde in this regard. The simultaneous focus on engagement and aesthetics – together with art writing (as in the work of Brian O’Doherty aka Patrick Ireland) – could not be more current or important today, when ideas around radical autonomy in and of art are debated. Wilde Art is both wild and refined, hedonistic and conceptual, engaged and enjoyable.
Presentation of Wilde Art by the curator
Imagined by CCI in collaboration with Société Oscar Wilde, this exhibition is curated by Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes in conjunction with the Wilde Days in Paris festival celebrating Wilde’s 160th birthday at the CCI, 6-14 June 2014.