Biography & Exhibitions List

Alan Phelan works in sculpture, film, museum interventions, public art and collaborations with other artists, writers and curators. Born Dublin, 1968, Phelan received BA, Dublin City University, 1989 and MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, 1994

Longer Version

ALAN PHELAN studied at Dublin City University and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. As a visual artist, his practice involves the production of objects, participatory projects, curating and writing. These all inform, combine and contribute to an interest in the narrative potential surrounding an artwork. This can be exploited or explored from actual and historical events, ideas, things and places as well as their fictional counterparts. Working in the museum and archive sector has shaped this approach somewhat but more as a counterpoint than agency.

The work is realised in numerous ways, including sculpture, film, museum interventions, public art and collaborations with other artists, writers and curators. Recent examples of this would be the “Handjob” project which began with a collection of hand photographs gathered on social media. It was first presented as a 10-artist gallery show where all works were re-made by me and displayed in a complex narrative based layout. This led to the film “Edwart & Arlette” which adapted and re-narrativised a Sherlock Holmes story, using words on the found images as dialogue. Sources collided to create a functioning narrative scenario as the melodrama the detective story matched the common source of the hand photographs in teenage self-harming hubs. Recent projects include a commission for The Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery, Dublin where the dialogue from a feature film has been re-narrativised create a counter-factual story of Roger Casement in exile 25 years after 1916. The film counters dominant historical narratives of commemoration to instead deal with betrayal of ideals. Over 2020-21 a film and photography project related to the Joly screen photography process will be exhibited in Dublin, Derry and Paris. Several groups shows have been postponed and re-scheduled into 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions on galleries.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 “Fleurs Tarabscoté”, Molesworth Gallery, Dublin.
“Echos toujours plus sourds”, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris.
2020 “echos are always more muted”, Void, Derry.
“Folly & Diction”, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin.
2019 “Red Lines”, The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon.
2018 “Library Words”, Kevin Street Library, sculpture commission for Dublin City Council.
“Yeats Words”, The High School, Dublin library, mural commission.
2016 “Our Kind”, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin.
2015 “if you aren’t all mine”, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin.
Sculpture commission for St Michael’s House Special National School Raheny, Dublin.
2014 “if you aren’t all mine”, curated by Sheena Malone, Detroit, Stockholm.
“but what end?”, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast .
2013 “Handjob”, artist project, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin .
“Include Me Out of the partisans manifesto”, screening, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin
2012 “Fragile Absolutes Part 3”, Limerick City Gallery of Art , Limerick .
2011 “Blind Private Party”, The Black Mariah, Cork.
“Seeing Things That Aren’t There – Sokea Yksityistilaisuus”, Oksasenkatu 11, Helsinki, Finland.
Sculpture commission for Dublin City Council at Fr Collins Park, Clongriffin, Co Dublin.
2010 “Cabbages and Things”, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan.
2009 “Fragile Absolutes”, Chapter, Cardiff, Wales.
“Fragile Absolutes”, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin with sculpture commission in the Formal Gardens.
“Ciao No More”, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise.
2007 “Ralph Eamon Odo Barbara”, mother’s tankstation, Dublin.
2006 “Bio Bits”, The Lab, Dublin.
“Fading Fast” and “The Second Gordon Bennett Memorial Show & Shine – Modified Car Event”,
Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Northern Ireland.
2005 “GB and the Western World”, Galway Arts Centre, Galway and Letterkenny Arts Centre, Donegal.
2004 “newtownwhowhatwhere?”, DCMNR broadband commission
“Gordon-Bennett”, Grennan Mill, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Thomastown, Kilkenny.
2003-4 “newtownwhowhatwhere? archive”, Tulca Festival of Visual Arts”, Galway Arts Centre, Galway .
2001 “Three Stories”, South Dublin County Council and Artworking, “in context” public art project.
2000 “Enthalpic Everything”, Limerick City Gallery, Limerick.
“Enthalpic Pleasures”, Triskel, Cork.
1998 “Self-Rescue Mechanism”, Arthouse, Dublin, with Jim Dingilian.
1994 “Behind and Ahead”, SPAS Photo Gallery, RIT, Rochester, New York.
1993 “Egon and Ireland”, Gallery of Photography, Essex Street, Dublin.

Selected Group Exhibitions and Projects

2021 Upcoming: “RGB Sconce, Hold Your Nose”, Sculpture Dublin, O’Connell Plinth Commission, City Hall, Dublin.
Upcoming: “RGB Hyacinth”, Void Offsites Commission, Brooke Park, Derry.
“The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now: Queer Embodiment”, curated by Sean Kissane, IMMA, Dublin.
“Company of Others – Box”, CCA, Derry/Londonderry.
“Bite the Hand that Feeds You”, PhotoIreland Festival 2021, curated by Julia Gelezova, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin.
“Hybrid Spaces”, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin.
2020 “Heavy Metal Parking Lot”, curated by Pádraic E Moore, Garage, Rotterdam.
2019 “Arrangements”, zine with Philipp Guffler, curated by James Merrigan, Small Night Zine.
“when the idea is extinguished”, atrium commission at TBG+S, Dublin.
“The Parted Veil”, curated by Chris Clarke, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC, Cork.
“The last great album of the decade”, curated by Pádraic E Moore and Sheena Barrett, The Lab, Dublin.
“Company of Others”, curated by Sara Greavu, CCA, Derry/Londonderry.
“BF Artist Film Festival IX”, GRAFT, The Gregson Centre, London.
“Spiritual Cramp”, web store, Cork.
2018 “Trophy Hunters”, curated by Sheena Malone, Dada Post, Berlin.
Shortlisted for Irish representation for the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Shortlisted for two strands of “Infrastructure”, Fingal County Council public art programme.
2017 “Dublin Art Book Fair”, TBG+S, Dublin.
Collaboration with Kapwani Kiwanga on her “The Sun Never Sets” video project, Paris.
Text for Nathalie Czech for her “Critic’s Bouquet” photography project, Berlin.
Short-listed for the Central Bank of Ireland, North Wall Quay new building sculpture competition.
“Loop: City Screen with Damer House Gallery”, Barcelona.
“187th Annual”, RHA, Dublin
“Madder Lake”, launched at TBG+S, Dublin.
“Hermione Art Exhibition”, curated by Aisling Prior, Alexandra College, Dublin
2016 “Roger Roger”, curated by Ben Crothers, Great Hall, Queens University, Belfast.
“Foyle Film Festival”, Derry/Londonderry.
“Tulca”, Tony White accompanied by New Pope, Mechanics’ Institute, Middle Steet, Galway.
“Meeting Casement”, curated by John Fitzgerlad, Grand Hotel Oslo and Litteraturhuset Bergen, Norway.
“Still (the) Barbarians”, curated by Koyo Kouoh, EVA International, Limerick.
“Deep-Seated”, project by James Merrigan, Cork and Dublin.
“NSK Folk Biennale”, Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare.
“Two Birds/One Stone”, curated by Janet Mullarney, Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin.
“Hermione Art Exhibition”, curated by Aisling Prior, Alexandra College, Dublin
2015 “Culture Night”, commission for GDA Public Art Project “…the lives we live” curated by Jenny Haughton.
“The Construct”, OPW Collection touring exhibition, Newtownards, Omagh, Athlone and Bray.
“Videonale.15”, Bonn Kunstmuseum, Germany.
“Fragments” in collaboration with curator Marguerite O’Molloy, IMMA, Dublin.
2014 “ Selective Memory-Artists and the archive ”, curated by Chris Clarke, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC, Cork.
“How to See Clearly from a Distance”, Jenny Guy project, Galway University Hospital, Tulca, Galway.
“Dublin Downstairs”, curated by Gemma Tipton, Merrion Square , Dublin .
“Art for Gaza ”, curated by Mary Cremin and Oonagh Young, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin .
“Homeland”, curated by Patricia Hurl and Therry Rudin, Damer House Gallery, Roscrea.
“Mammoth”, curated by Matt Packer, Treignac Projet, Treignac , Limousin , France .
“20/Twenty”, National Self-Portrait Collection and Lyric FM, Limerick .
2013 “Periodical Review #3”, section curated by Gavin Murphy, Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin.
Cairo Video Festival, Medrar Centre for Contemporary Art, Cairo , Egypt.
“Forced Exposure (Collapsible You), The Black Mariah, Triskel, Cork.
“False Memory Synrdrome”, curated by Rayne Booth, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin.
“(((o)))”, a Lee Welsh and Teresa Gillespie project, Clonsea Studios, Blackrock, Dublin.
“183rd RHA Annual Exhibition”, invited, RHA, Dublin.
“The Founding Phant”, Ormston House, Limerick.
“Monuments Seminar”, Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore Co. Waterford.
“ÉCU Firsts”, European Independant Film Festival, Paris.
“Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & The Francis Bacon Studio”, Bozar, Brussels , Belgium.
“Cinesonika”, The Nerve Centre, Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
“Synchromaterialism”, a Jim Ricks project, The Black Mariah, Cork.
2012 “Moving Image and Memory”, Re/Theorisation of Critical Heritage Studies, Gothenburg University , Sweden.
“Cutting a Door”, curated by Robert O’Connor, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai , China.
2011 “Let’s Get Ready”, Pixxelpoint, Novo Gorica, Slovenia.
“Death and Sensuality”, curated by Jim Ricks, Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco.
“The Great Public Sale of unrealized but brilliant Ideas”, by Sarah Vanhee, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven.
The Agent Ria, curated by Lyndsay Mann, Sweet and the City Apex Hotel, Edinburgh Art Festival.
“Point to Point”, curated by Gemma Tipton, Kinsale Arts Week, Cork.
“Twenty”, IMMA, Dublin.
“The Art of Fashion”, Brown Thomas (department store windows), Dublin.
“Terminal Convention”, former Cork airport terminal, art fair with The Black Mariah.
“An Exchange with Sol LeWitt”, curated by Regine Basha, Cabinet and MASS MoCA.
2010 “Bizarre Bazaar”, PCP, Dublin.
“Feinkost Triennale”, Feinkost, Berlin.
Maximo Gonzalez’s “Changaritto” in “Mano/Mundo/Corazón”, Center for Book & Paper Arts, Chicago.
“…and if I listen in I hear my own heart beating…” CAKE, Curragh Camp, Kildare.
Galería Del Infinito Arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Snakes and Ladders”, curated by Daniel Figgis, Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall , Dublin; Wexford Opera House, Wexford; and Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, Broadway, New York.

“Traces: IMMA limited Editions”, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
“Dennis Farrell”, curated exhibition at US Ambassadors Residence, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
“Additions 2009”, National Self-Portrait Collection, Vincent Bourne Gallery, University of Limerick.
“Pecha Kucha Night”, The Irish Architecture Foundation, Sugar Club, Dublin.
“Reading the City”, EV+A curated by Angelika Nollert and Yilmaz Dziewior, Hunt Museum, Limerick.
2008 “Shuffle”, “I-Podism: Cultural Promiscuity in the Age of Consumption”, curated by George Bolster, Tulca, Galway.
“The Space In Between”, curated by Fiona Mulholland, Basement Gallery, Dundalk.
“Fifteen Fragile Absolutes”, The Process Room, part of the Artist’s Residency Programme, IMMA, Dublin .
“Concourse Offsite”, curated by Claire Power and Carolyn Browne, DLR, Blackrock Park, Dublin
“Points of View – In Transition”, curated by Ciaran Bennett, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan.
2007 “The Art World”, Feinkost, Berlin.
“ Platform II: Dis-[re]-place”, curated by Niamh Smyth, Knockbride House, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan.
“Pilot:3 – live archive for artists and curators”, Venice Biennale, collateral event.
“inter-changes”, Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park , Dublin and Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda .
“Oh show me your beauty when the witnesses have gone”, curated by Noel Kelly, ŠKUC, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
“Artist Exchange: process, practice and the audience, ResCen and Create”, Soho Theatre, London.
2006 “X-mas the spot”, curated by Nevan Lahart, Driaocht, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, Dublin.
“Seconds: the imperfect artwork”, invited by Aileen Lambert, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford.
“The Square Root of Drawing”, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin.
“Fresh: reimagining the collection”, curated by Pippa Little, LCGA, Limerick and West Cork AC, Skibbereen.
“Mother’s Ruin”, curated by Finola Jones, mother’s tankstation, Dublin.
“Test Pieces and Blend-in Moments”, curated by Sandra Grozdanic, SKC Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia.
2005 “Fused”, ‘ Gordon Bennett Sound Off’, South Dublin County Hall, Dublin .
“Another Monumental Metaphor”, Printed Project, issue 5, editor/curator (launched at the 51st Venice Biennale).
“Strata”, curated by Ann Mulrooney and Tim Davis, Kells, Ireland and Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales.
“Felons”, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (artist-curated project).
2004 “Thinking of Ideas”, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast.
“Small: The Object in Film, Video and Slide Installation”, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
“No Respect”, Dublin, public art exhibition co-curated with Jane Speller, various locations Dublin city.
“Country”, curated by Noel Kelly, Equrna Gallery, Ljubjana, Slovenia.
“Imagine Limerick”, EV+A, curated by Zdenka Badovinac, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick.
2003 “Appendiks 1”, Thiemers magasin, Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Painting without Numbers”, Cluain Mhuire, Galway Arts Festival, Galway.
“The National Gallery”, The Return, Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, Dublin.
“Affinity Archive”, The Metropolitan Complex, Broadstone Studios, Dublin.
“Permaculture”, curated by Grant Watson and Vaari Claffey, Project, Dublin.
2002 “Crawford Open 3”, Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork.
“Perspective 2002”, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast.
“Love 2 Love”, Catalyst Arts, Belfast.
“Fabulations of Form”, curated by Sarah Pierce, Arthouse, Dublin.
2001 “Stand Fast Dick and Jane”, Project, Dublin. Co-curated with Tom Keogh.
“Intermedia”, Triskel, Anglesey Street Garda Station, Cork.
2000 “Absolutonic”, Sculptors’ Society of Ireland, Dublin.
1999 “Freeze II”, curated by Anya von Gösseln, Arthouse, Dublin.
“Sculpture in Context”, Irish Management Institute, Dublin.
“Office for Contemporary Art”, Paul Kane Gallery, Dublin.
1998 “EV+A”, juror Paul O’Reilly, Gaeltacht Cleaners, O’Connell St., Limerick.
“Art/Exchange Fair”, New York, USA.
“Excellent Dynamite”, Pallas Studios, Foley Street, Dublin.
1997 “Quadrant ‘97”, curated by Caomh í n Mac Giolla Léith, Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick.
“SSI/Ireland and Europe: International Visual Art Event”, Iveagh Gardens, Dublin.
1996 “Artist Garden Project”, Highland Park, Rochester, New York, USA.
“ACA presents”, Tea House Gallery, Rochester, New York, USA.
1995 “Project X: Boundaries”, Pyramid Arts Centre, Village Gate Square and the Mall at Greece Ridge Center, Rochester, New York, USA. Co-curated with Alex Miokovic.
“Alternatives ’95: Zenophobia”, jurors Doug Ischar and Kaucylia Brooke, Ohio University, USA.
“Alien Artists II”, Attleboro Museum, Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA.
“Fragile Landscapes”, Centre for Photography at Woodstock, New York, USA.
“Signal”, Bug Jar, Rochester, New York, USA.
1994 “Small World-Small Works”, Galerie + Edition CAOC, Berlin, Germany.
“EV+A”, curated by Jan Hoet, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick.