Laurence Kavanagh’s work develops themes relating sculpture to film. He is interested in how sculpture might offer a temporary physical experience between past and future by creating multiple perspectives for its audience. The use of film in his work serves to create a framework from which to make three-dimensional spaces out of flattened, constructed images where events all occur on top of one another. The sculptures made by Kavanagh during this process balance between real and imagined space through the physical transformation of everyday objects coupled with the transference of memory through imagery.
The project shown in the Process Room at IMMA is based upon the first films screened at The Volta Cinema, Dublin when it opened in 1909. Owned by James Joyce, The Volta was the first dedicated cinema in Ireland. It was noted for showing a programme of Italian films in addition to some American, English and French films that were more commonly toured around cinemas at that time. Of the films shown at The Volta cinema when Joyce owned it, there are only seventeen films still in existence.
Made from metal cupboards that were used to store films at the Irish Film Institute, cut and scored by hand, the installation resembles a partially dismantled film set of a domestic interior, within which the viewer is able to walk. Over the period of two weeks of this installation, important elements will be introduced from the first films screened; a stairway, a lampshade, white paint etc. These moments, scenes and objects are not set out to be literally be recreated, but to continually overlay with one another, forming and re-forming new narratives as the viewer moves in and around the installation.
In the process of making this work Kavanagh intends to investigate the power of images transferring between people through space and objects, and also how the slippage between image and perception exposes the will to believe in what has been and what can be. The work will play on a constant shift between the human desire for both past and future, whilst fixing these moments to a specific location.
With thanks to all the staff at the Irish Film Institute Archive, The BFI silent film department, Luc McKernan (curator of silent film at The British Library), the curatorial, educational and technical staff at IMMA, Maeve Connolly, Fergus Byrne, Aurelien Froment and Tessa Giblin.