Programme

Ciara Barker

Supermarket Art Fair

Ormston House is proud to present People Who (…) Have No Dreams by Ciara Barker at Supermarket Art Fair 2021. The title of this immersive installation is drawn from a quote by journalist, Diane Vreeland, sourced from White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf. The quote reads: “People who eat white bread have no dreams.” The gap in the title is left in order to emphasise the binary nature of this type of thinking, that anyone can insert their own ideology into this sentence in order to declare otherness as ‘less than’.

People Who (…) Have No Dreams aims to highlight the absurdness of inherently judging what is good and bad without complexity and nuance. It considers the perceived ties between the body and moral responsibility. Our current culture places enormous weight on the elite performance of maintaining a body that fits a narrow standard. A standard that excludes, shames and oppresses. We are told bodies should be pure, smooth, solid and unchanging, obviously an unattainable standard, but many of us still somehow link it to our worth.

Self-maintenance has been awarded moral value, with bodily purity becoming a status symbol, even at the cost of mental and social wellbeing. We are conditioned to become our own identity-police and to engage in the power relations of self-representation, as though it were a means of proclaiming one’s superior virtue and self-control to the world. However, this theatre of identity performance is a method of exploitation and a disguise for the fear of difference. The installation provides the conditions to physically experience and personally reflect on the oppressiveness of the divide proposed by the video element of the work.

About the artist

Ciara Barker is an artist based in Limerick City, Ireland. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Limerick School of Art and Design, and is currently undertaking a H.Dip. in Interaction Design at Dublin City University. Barker co-founded spacecraft Studios and was a Director there for two years. She has received multiple funding awards from Limerick City and County Council, and has exhibited in many shows, including the Galway International Arts Festival. Barker is a long-term Artist-in-Residence at Ormston House.

Barker’s practice has a consistent preoccupation with the experience of living in a body and how that connects us to the world. For her, this has always resulted in a motivation to interrupt our everyday perception, by constructing sections of space that disengage us from oversimplified identity attachments. She is interested in drawing attention to bodily experience using a mix of restrictive and responsive materials. She uses light as an overlooked phenomenon, and interaction as a viewer’s route to personal experience and discovery. She is particularly drawn to refraction and distortion of light as a way to open up the complexity of the seemingly one-dimensional. She also utilises materials which are reflective and transparent. These distort space and the bodies and images within it. This is a means to explore the illusory nature of self-image and the fallibility of socially-constructed divides. In her practice, Barker hopes to embrace the in-betweens of such divides. You can visit her website at ciarabarker.com.

About Supermarket Art Fair

Supermarket Art Fair is an international artist-run art fair in Sweden that provides a showcase of artists’ initiatives from all over the world with the aim to display their unique projects and ideas, to create opportunities for new networks on the international art scene, and to share the passion and vitality that are present in this sphere of the art world. You can visit the website at supermarketartfair.com.

Ormston House is represented at Supermarket Art Fair by the artist, Niamh Brown (Curator) and Caimin Walsh (Projects Curator). Our participation is kindly supported by Culture Ireland with strategic support from Limerick City & County Council.

Information

Supermarket Art Fair, 14-17 October 2021. Image: detail from People Who (...) Have No Dreams (2020-2021) by Ciara Barker, commissioned for the Feminist Supermarket curated by Niamh Brown and Mary Conlon at Ormston House. Photograph by Jed Niezgoda.
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