Joly Photographs: Folly & Diction, 2020
RHA, Ely Place, Dublin 2
14 Feb 2020 – 27 Mar 2020 [show stalled 12 March due to COVID19 closure of cultural institutions] RHA Gallery II and Gallery III. Curated by Ruth Carroll
This exhibition brings together a selection of Alan Phelan’s unique Joly Screen Process photographs and a new large scale music video work about the inventor of this forgotten colour photography process which was abandoned from use over 100 years ago.
The photographs in Folly & Diction are arranged in sequences that mix floral, self-portraits and objects, with titles acknowledging source artists and related historical events. The show title embeds Joly & Dixon into this speculative history by homonym, while acknowledging the possible humour in these probable revised histories and queer re-reading of photography.
Phelan’s ambition is to create a visual history for the process that it never had. To do this he uses art and historical references spanning over 500 years. The work presents a “counterfactual temporality”, to create a longer potential history for photography.
Similarly he has worked with a variety of talented artists and musicians for the video who include Elaine Hoey, James Kelly, Ian McInerney, The Late David Turpin, and Louis Haugh. The video brings the analogue stripes of the Joly Screen into the digital age with audio-responsive animations which overlay a troubled biographical narrative about John Joly and his collaborator Henry Dixon. Typical of Phelan the story presented is a fusion of references coming from texts by Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet and functioning outside of adaptation or appropriation to “re-narrativise” instead and create a new or different story history.
For more information on this exhibition, including full press release text and work titles below: