The Courthouse Gallery & Studios is delighted to open our next exhibition Curdle by Kevin Gaffney, Bassam Al-Sabah and Jennifer Mehigan.
Each artist has a surreal approach to storytelling with images, texts and voice-overs bending reality to a breaking point; mirroring how trauma distorts, remakes and retells lived experience in its own image. To curdle is to render something ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, or ‘to spoil’). Curdling represents this condensing of a reality gone sour through the different image-making methods in the exhibition; painting, analogue photography, video, hyperreal CGI and AI-generated images. These distinct approaches are brought together through a unifying impulse of sharing queer experiences. Alongside this, humour, frankness and absurdity appear as queer strategies of resistance.
New and older works by each artist are shown in order to trace the development of these ideas through their practices and across different mediums they have worked with. Kevin’s work uses outward-looking satires of geopolitics and capitalism, inward-looking meditations and dreamlike scenes and images to envision alternative ways of being and worlds with their own logic and possibilities. Bassam’s work creates intricate visions of war, resistance and perseverance to examine themes of displacement, nostalgia and personal mythology. Jennifer’s work explores personal and domestic materialities of queerness, grief and horror as they intersect with the screen, and ideas of truth and reality in a space where public and private spheres are constantly colliding with and abstracting each other.
Kevin Gaffney is an artist and filmmaker, based between Dublin and Belfast. Gaffney’s work has been shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2021), the Cork Film Festival (2016 & 2018), and a solo exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork (2020-21). In 2014 they were an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist-in-residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong residency in South Korea and their work was shown in two solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Institute CAI02 in Japan (2014 & 2018). A monograph of their work, Unseen By My Open Eyes, was published in 2017. www.kevin-gaffney.com
Bassam Al-Sabah is an artist based between Dublin and Belfast. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Douglas Hyde (December 2022), Solstice Arts Centre (2019), the LAB (2018) and with the Glucksman as an offsite installation (2021). Internationally, he has had solo exhibitions at Gasworks (London, 2021) and the De La Warr Pavillion (UK, 2022), and group exhibitions and screenings at Transmediale (Berlin, 2021), EX-IS (South Korea, 2021), Jeu de Paume (Paris, 2021) and the Barbican (London, 2022). www.bassamalsabah.com
Jennifer Mehigan is an artist and researcher based between Belfast and Limerick. Recent projects include a solo exhibition at Transmediale (Berlin, 2021), a monograph Hardcore Vanilla Rain published with PS2 in Belfast (2021), and a residency at Uilinn, West Cork Arts Centre (2021). Her collaborative work with Bassam Al-Sabah has been shown by RTÉ (2020) and screened at The Dock (2022). She was project manager for Belfast’s only queer DIY music and artist studio space, The 343, and is a current member of the architecture and nightlife collective Temporary Pleasure. www.cowardess.online