Brigid Mc Leer’s practice is concerned with staging or imaging complex and contingent models of the subject. She does this through developing durational performative responses to pre-existing texts, sites or images. Both One + One (The Reading) (2010/12) and Vexations (2007/8) use visual documentation of extended performance activities as the basis of their form.
Vexations is based on Eric Satie’s enigmatic 1893 musical composition of the same title. Famously, Satie’s short but difficult score included an epigraph that stated “to play this piece 840 times one would need to prepare oneself in the greatest silence with serious immobility”. For this work the artist spent 15 days in a gallery relearning how to play piano by learning this piece. While doing this, she also produced a vast wall drawing reflecting her experience. This drawing was continually photographed, producing the set of 840 images – a vast new visual score.
One + One (The Reading) is a work in video and drawing taken from a 7 hour public performance of the artist reading all the proper nouns from James Joyce’s Ulysses. The performance was filmed using a specially commissioned 12.5m miniature rail track. This scene of a tracking shot of a woman reading was itself inspired by the opening sequence to Jean Luc Godard’s Le Mépris -a film about the making of a film of The Odyssey, which of course is the epic tale of homecoming upon which Joyce based Ulysses.
About the Artist
Brigid Mc Leer is an Irish artist based in London. She trained in Fine Art at NCAD (Dublin), University of Ulster (Belfast) and Slade School of Art (London). She is interested in ideas of duration and contingency and works in various media including video, performance, photography, drawing and writing.
Mc Leer has exhibited throughout the UK and is currently Course Director of Fine Art (BA) at Coventry School of Art & Design.
Image courtesy the artist.