artist bio
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Seeing Things That Aren’t There
Sokea Yksityistilaisuus
Project Show of HIAP Resident Artist

22-26 October 2011

Oksasenkatu 11, 00100 Helsinki, Finland


Checkers Paranoia (this is not a DUMB)
allas pommisuoja kakku (tämä ei ole tyhmä)
archival paper, EVA glue, toner
100 (long) x 18 x 46 cm
Larry the Centaur
mies laama karitsan
20 x 30 cm
Suburban Faux Real
itäkeskus kenkä
fabric, c-print
Brian’s Bright Future
kansakunnan synty
clay, cardboard, paper, paint, apples
35 x 21 x 28 cm
Rosebud Window Tunnel Curtain
nuppu malli vieraassa paikassa
cut velvet curtain fabric, printed cotton, adhesive
240 (high) x 197 (wide) cm

Speaking of Drives
oppia kokonaisuuksia
video projection
duration 17 minutes (rough cut)


Imaginary place, imaginary time. Footballer’s girlfriend Charlene Hume-Berkeley encounters former Carmelite nun, Dame Judy Tutler, in Erottaja underground car park and tunnels, Helsinki.

Status and achievement fascinate Charlene Hume-Berkeley (25). She’s obsessing about what men want, however, because of an ebbing sexual rapport with her partner. Determined to star in her own reality TV show, she recently discarded her research into later Lacan and the art of handbagging because it’s bad for her image. Played here by Rachel Cheung.

Dame Judy Tutler (39) lives currently as a celibate. Sometimes, she dreams of driving in the Leggenda e Passione at Maranella, with her ideal lover by her side. A mechanic in her Carmelite years, Judy loves tinkering with various Scaglietti-designed, pontoon-fendered Ferrari 250 TRs. Her wish list number one is to inspect all 22 constructed between 1957 and 1958. Played here by Fionna O’Sullivan.

In another life, Arthur Griffith (1872-1922) might be DJ’s ideal. Editor, essayist and politician, his article ‘The Resurrection of Hungary’ (1904) questions how sovereignty evolves for smaller countries within larger entities, there the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Coincidentally, the 15 years he spent (1895 -1910) as an engaged man overlap with key moments in Sigmund’s Freud’s articulation of psychoanalysis. Played here by Frank Boyle.

Many thanks to all who helped in this production made in such a short time-frame. Firstly the actors and crew Ulla Linnanvuo, Tomasz Szrama, Pii Anttila, Daniel Moynihan, and the many others who helped along the way including The Finn Brit Players, Thespians Anonymous, Toni Ledentsa, and Marita Muukkonen.


For this exhibition, Irish artist Alan Phelan will present several works that have been developed while on residency at HIAP over three months. Phelan works in a variety of media which include fabric, papier-mâché and video. The underground tunnels of Helsinki city formed the starting point for Phelan’s work here. These allowed him to develop his interest in “infrastructural aesthetic”, a concept that allows several parallel narratives to exist, linking the physical to the political to the societal to the individual.

Phelan will also screen for the first time a video made in the underground car park chambers of Erottaja in Helsinki, built originally during the early Cold War years as an air raid shelter. The script has been developed with Irish writer and psychotherapist Medb Ruane and has three unlikely characters discussing the psychology of car culture. The three argue over some of the nuances of the field from early Freud to the later Lacan, teasing out the illusive O-Object, or the unobtainable object of desire.

With Phelan’s work there is a mix of literal and symbolic references, encouraging conflicting viewpoints and interpretations, attempting to gently undermine the certainty of our cultural assumptions. The works in the show contrast greatly so as to engage political history, cultural theory, psychoanalysis, science fiction and sexuality - shaped through interests in narrative, trans-cultural potential, and provisional meaning.

The HIAP residency is in partnership with Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.