Abridged 0 – 7: Abandoned Donegal

Abridged Commentary (Part 0 – 7)

Abridged 0 – 7 is unusual in that planning for such an exhibition had been in the works from the early days of Abridged, possibly even before that. It took a really long time to come to fruition and only then with the collaboration of Denzil Browne and the Arts Council of Ireland. It would finally occur in 2010 at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny, County Donegal. We’d been really interested in contemporary ruins from the late 1990s. It was at the time not really a concern of the contemporary art world outside of a number of artists mapping the decline of Detroit and a few ‘Abandoned America’ websites. Fortunately or unfortunately the development of Abandoned Donegal coincided with the ‘Crash’ in Ireland. (Ireland both North and South has a maybe unique ability to pare down world crises to a single word: the Emergency for WW2, the Troubles for well the Troubles and the Crash for the global financial crisis in 2008) and it became possibly the first contemporary Irish exhibition to explore commercial abandonment. A lot would follow. 

We gave the artist (looking back) the almost impossible instruction of not making the images romantic or sentimental. He did a good job. It’s difficult however for the viewer not to empathise with structural abandonment or ruin. It seems to be something within us that responds to ruins, and probably originates in theories of the picturesque and sublime that became popular a few hundred years ago. As we’ve often pointed out decaying things can be romanticised, decaying people are much more difficult to idolise. 

The publication actually (if we remember rightly) appeared after Abridged 0 – 17 and 0 – 18 so the paper was actually correct and the design decent. Though the cover (which has a great image) isn’t at all helped by the text and why we decided that Maria’s text should be bordered by pink isn’t quite clear to us now. 

abandoned-donegal-pages-4-7-pages-1 denzil

Essays

 

Abridged 0 – 7: Abandoned Donegal was funded by The Arts Council of Ireland.

Abridged is supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

This Zone Archive project is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.