A unique exhibition opens today at the National Archives, featuring new and original artwork from artist-in-residence, John Beattie.
The exhibition explores new perspectives on archival material relating to the 1921-1923 period, entitled ‘Reperforming State Memory – Work in Progress’.
Inishowen native John Beattie’s art practice takes the form of still and moving-image staged productions, where he examines and re-presents historical events and narratives using a range of imaging technologies, in a way that reveals or makes visible new perspectives on familiar subjects.
‘Reperforming State Memory’, Beattie’s two-year project with the National Archives, seeks to engage with its collections and its role in preserving the records of the State, and to work collaboratively with staff to explore different modes of display and representations of archive material.
Over the course of his residency, Beattie creates work that re-stages and brings to life a series of historical narratives and events from the 1921-1923 period.
Taking the National Archives, ‘The Treaty 1921: Records from the Archives’ exhibition, Beattie documented the installation of the exhibition and presents a ‘behind-the-scene’ view of the making of it, presented as a 3-screen video installation in the National Archives’ foyer.
In addition, Beattie has constructed an experimental work outside the National Archives’ Reading Room, which combines traditional display methods with new imaging technologies to explore new ways of presenting fragile archival records.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “I support the work and creative expression of artists such as John Beattie as they engage with the historical collections of the National Archives and other institutions in new and innovative ways.
“The richness of collaborations such as this, between the historical and contemporary, open up these precious records to new audiences and challenge us to take a different look at historical events.
“It is great to see the fruit of this inaugural residency in this in this ‘work in progress’ under the Programme’s Artist-in Residence scheme.”
John Beattie is a visual artist, originally from Co. Donegal, and is currently based in Dublin. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is currently working towards his solo exhibition ‘Reconstructing Mondrian’ at the Hugh Lane Gallery in 2023.