Where there are people there are things: Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry, N. Ireland

Eamon O’Kane’s exhibition of new work, Where there are people there are things, relates to a derelict plant nursery in Odense, Denmark, where the artist lives and has a studio. The new work continues the artist’s ongoing interest in architecture and specifically considers architecture’s relationships to the human, organic, and symbolic forces that act against its original design.

The exhibition consists of an installation of photographs of the interior of the nursery, displayed on light-boxes made from recycled light components that were once used in the greenhouses to help plant growth. The photographs, taken over a period of several months, depict details of the place in a state of abandonment. We see signs of the changing seasons and the slow take-over of weeds. We also see subtle signs of human interference. The photographs represent these different and overlapping rhythms of change.

The light-box photographs, together with an accompanying series of video-monitor works, are presented on a large, modular wooden display structure designed by the artist. The structure functions architecturally in its own right, extending in three directions across the exhibition space at CCA and referencing ideas of transparency and modularity that were common to the architectural modernism of the mid-twentieth century.

The title of the exhibition is taken from Samuel Beckett’s Text for nothing #8 (1958). This text, as read by actor Jack MacGowran, forms part of the video projection in Gallery 2 and reinforces a sense of the human as a strange and disembodied voice in this landscape of gradual disintegration.


CCA Derry