Berlin exhibition offers a global audience a window into modern Irish life

Emilee Geist

Culture Night 2020 is already a memory but Berlin-based Candice Gordon, rock singer turned Ireland’s first full-time cultural officer for the Department of Foreign Affairs, is keeping the show on the road.

Weeks into her new job in the Irish Embassy in Berlin, Gordon’s new photographic exhibition brings a touch of modern Irish life to the German capital – and online to a worldwide audience.

The exhibition, Ireland in Frame, unites the striking work of six photographers to provide outside audiences with a window into Ireland beyond familiar visual clues and cliches. As pandemic restrictions make one exhibition in one place unlikely-to-impossible, Gordon instead has spread the work across six Irish-owned or operated businesses in Berlin.

Art lovers can apply for a trail card and visit each stop, boosting their stamina along the way with a complementary drink. On Friday evening a socially distanced launch event in the courtyard of the Berlin Embassy brought a local audience together with participating photographers via Zoom.

Among the works on display are Kenneth O’Halloran’s frozen moments of Dublin street life and pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick. Laura Jean Zito, meanwhile, pairs vivid scenes of rural life with haikus from Gabriel Rosenstock.

Merging aesthetics

Dublin-born Jeanette Lowe’s work in the exhibition looks at social housing flats in Dublin and inner-city street scenes. The latter work merges the realism of photography with the visual selection open to a painter. With Edward Hopper in mind, Lowe took pictures of familiar scenes and – with filters and software – eliminated advertising, signs, footpath cracks and other visual distractions.

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