The TULCA 2019 Open Call is now closed!
Thank you to everyone who applied. We are delighted with the response. Selected artists will be notified by 30 June 2019.
The TULCA 2019 Open Call is now closed!
Thank you to everyone who applied. We are delighted with the response. Selected artists will be notified by 30 June 2019.
TULCA Festival of Visual Arts is pleased to announce details of its 2019 Open Call curated by Kerry Guinan; TACTICAL MAGIC.
TACTICAL MAGIC describes a process of reification by magic. As a festival and exhibition, it sets out to identify the links between art and magical practice. Archaeology tells us that the very roots of art are in magic. Prehistoric cave paintings, for example, were not merely decorative embellishments, they were acts of hunting magic intended to bring prey into life. It is this magical element, this resolute belief in reality building and bending through art, that forms the basis of TULCA 2019.
Expropriated from the art of communal ritual, magic was historically appropriated by organised religion into pedagogical representation, before being altogether disgraced by enlightened capitalism, which stated the genius of the artist as detached from God. Magic has survived, nonetheless, in forms of transgressive art practice that cast faith in art as a tool of reality. Hence new bridges between art and activism, art and health, and art and science are emerging alongside the enduring representational magic of paint, performance, and sculpture. These practices can be considered tactical insofar as they constitute a particular methodology employed towards a broader metaphysical end.
TACTICAL MAGIC finds its bearings in the resilient magical customs of the West of Ireland (in Galway the Hen’s Castle, Saint Augustine’s Well, and Knockma Hill). Yet it also positions itself in critical adjacency to perspectives that would enclose such practices in an exotic past, reproducible for the gaze of the tourist. Ireland is currently undergoing rapid secularisation, facilitated in part by the arrival of global capital. We are constructing a place where wells no longer heal, statues no longer weep, and giants no longer roam, yet the invisible hand of the market is granted deity-like infallibility. Against this timely and sensitive backdrop, TACTICAL MAGIC seeks to identify magic in the contemporary everyday, including in the rationalist discourses of science, technology, and the economy.
TACTICAL MAGIC therefore, asks, in a context of profit-positivism, whether art can create a political space for magical effects. Etymologically othered by religions, throughout history the term ‘magic’ has been flexibly applied to practices rejected by official discourse. This exhibition makes use of this flexibility to gather artistic practices of deviance, transcendence, illusion, ritual, embodiment, reification, redress, and trickery. Historically divergent disciplines and approaches will convene to share tactics that subvert the conventional binary of rationalism and irrationalism.
Given the historical treatment of magical practice, the curator is particularly keen to hear from perspectives that have been hitherto excluded from artistic and religious canons.
Open Call Process & Guidelines:
TULCA is curated through direct invitation and an Open Call process. The final selection of artworks will be based on thematic connection, artistic quality, and feasibility.
Selections are made by the curator in consultation with the TULCA producer.
Deadline: 6th May 2019 6pm (GMT)
Please send a single PDF attachment (15mb max) that includes the following information:
(Items 1 - 4 are obligatory)
A concise artist’s statement (max 250 words)
CV (max 2 pages)
Examples of previous work (no more than 10 images; each image of existing work must include the title, its dimensions, the material/medium, the date and your name, and also information on where the work has been shown, if applicable). Web links of up to 2 video works can be sent, accessible at either YouTube or Vimeo - you must include passwords for any private videos and works longer than 5 minutes must be abridged
A clearly outlined proposal of work to be exhibited and its installation and technical requirements, which should not exceed 250 words. Please include photographs or videos of the work (3 max)
(Optional) Where new work is being proposed please include a clear outline text not to exceed 250 words. Please include any sketches or visualisations in the PDF document and any available information on costings, materials, technical and venue requirements
Applications should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Applicants:
TULCA is a focused visual arts festival with limited resources, so please bear this in mind in developing your proposal. TULCA typically takes place across a range of art and non-art venues, such as Galway Arts Centre, NUIG Gallery, University Hospital, 126 Gallery and off-site locations. If you develop a proposal for a specific location or context, we cannot guarantee its availability or feasibility. We encourage artists to take a flexible approach in this regard to allow for a variety of options developed through discussion with the curator.
We will confirm receipt of all applications. Selected artists will be notified no later than 30th June 2019.
We regret we are not able to give individual feedback regarding unsuccessful applications.
There is no submission fee
TULCA is a unique festival that provides the opportunity for artists to engage with a wide audience in new and unusual ways. As well as an artist fee, we offer curatorial and artistic development, technical support and a significant press, marketing and audience campaign. A fully illustrated catalogue with commissioned essays. A dynamic programme of education within primary and secondary schools and third level institutions. The festival also offers an extraordinary chance to build new collaborations and extend your network with artists nationally and internationally.
Artists are welcome to propose the presentation of existing works or the production of new work. Work must not have been previously exhibited in Galway.
Artists curated through this open call are responsible for the transport/delivery and collection of their work. All applicants should be aware that, if selected, they will be required to do press and promotion work as necessary.
TULCA reserve the right to photograph works and to use elements of accepted entries for exhibition for publicity purposes, unless the artist expressly states the contrary in writing. Copyright of all work remains the property of the artist.
For any further queries please contact Festival Producer at email@example.com
TULCA is pleased to announce that Kerry Guinan has been appointed as the curator of the 17th edition of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts in 2019.
Kerry Guinan is an artist, researcher, and curator based between Limerick and Dublin. She holds a BA in Fine Art & Art History from the National College of Art & Design, 2014. As an artist, Guinan performs ambitious interventions to examine the sociological function of art in the contemporary. These interventions take place both inside and outside the gallery context in a range of private and public spaces.
Between 2013 and 2016 Guinan curated and exhibited with a nameless collective of six artists to subvert rationalist authority through art practice. This included large-scale exhibitions in an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Dublin 8 (2013), Platform Arts, Belfast (2016), and Hotel Maria Kapel, the Netherlands (2016). She has also curated ‘Minus One,’ an exhibition exploring masculinity in an underground car park in Dublin 8 (2013), and exhibited her first solo show, ‘Presenting the Cultural Quarter,’ at A4 Sounds, Dublin in 2017. Guinan has developed several provocative public artworks in Slovenia (An Experiment in Value, 2015), Galway (126 © Kerry Guinan, 2014), Offaly (Freedom of Entry, 2013), and an Irish General Election (Liberate Art, 2016). Her most recent public work Presenting the Cultural Quarter (2017) led to an artistic confrontation with an Garda Síochána.
A researcher in the sociology and philosophy of visual art, Guinan has contributed papers to a number of academic environments, including the National University of Ireland Maynooth (2018), Trinity College Dublin (2017), University College Dublin (2017), and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2015, 2016). She is the author of The Impact and Instrumentalisation of Art in the Dublin Property Market, published with support from Fingal County Council in 2016.
Guinan was awarded the Arts Council of Ireland’s prestigious ‘Next Generation Bursary Award’ to support her practice in 2018. A member of Fingal County Council’s ‘Buildings and Public Places’ Artists Panel, she has also been supported by Fingal Arts Office in 2018, 2016, and 2014.
“I would like to offer my deepest thanks to the Board of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts for inviting me to curate this exceptional festival. Like TULCA, I believe very firmly in art and in artists. My aim for TACTICAL MAGIC is to explore the nature of this belief by asking ‘is art magical?’ Ireland is currently redefining its relationship to religion and spirituality and I would encourage the people of Galway and beyond to engage with the festival to find the thrilling magic that survives the everyday.” Kerry Guinan, TULCA Curator
“We are delighted to announce Kerry Guinan as curator for TULCA 2019. We look forward to working with Kerry to develop an exciting programme for the 17th edition of the festival, TACTICAL MAGIC.” David Finn, TULCA Producer
TULCA 2019: TACTICAL MAGIC will run from 1 - 17 November 2019 across multiple venues in Galway city and county.
Aine Phillips reflects on TULCA Festival of Visual Arts 2018, curated by Linda Shevlin.
A person in complete accord with their environment is described as being in a ‘syntonic state’. Curated by Linda Shevlin, this year’s edition of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts in Galway examined this concept. The artists, thinkers and writers assembled by Shevlin offered different perspectives on this theme, generating various possibilities for viewers to attain syntonic experiences through art.
A vibrant example of human and environmental accord was created on the opening night by Aoibheann Greenan with The Life of Riley. Taking the form of a street procession, led by a lone piper, the work involved a number of Galway buskers, who entertained the crowds, alongside the artist and her cast of performers, animating the nighttime city streets and leading the audience from the festival gallery to the club. Greenan’s performance incorporated wildly embellished, hybrid costumes and props that mingled elements of Irish and Mexican visual motifs. Darkly funny, bizarre and congruent with Galway’s street performance culture, the event also presented a contemporary take on histories of the Great Famine period, a subject in Ireland deserving of new modes of analysis and interpretation. Video documentation of the performance was later presented to great effect on the top floor of the Fishery Watchtower Museum, a unique Victorian building that houses a collection of fishery memorabilia and vintage photographs.
TULCA was originally initiated 16 years ago, by Galway artists and curators, to counter the distinct lack of visual art spaces and resources in the city. This deficiency unfortunately persists, with space now at a premium, in the run up to Galway 2020; however, TULCA continues to enliven empty venues with contemporary art each year. Columban Hall, a former Congregational church, was theatrically lit to produce a unifying sense of anticipation and discovery. Helen Hughes commanded the space with her series of collapsed inflatable forms, deluged with paint, like extravagant mollusks or the discarded parts of an alien apparatus. Both Laura Ní Fhlaibhín and Rosie O’Reilly’s installations were complex narrative works involving multiple elements, correlating with each other to give the impression of an uncommon museum.
Another repurposed space, the festival gallery at Fairgreen House, displayed ‘Empathy Lab 2018’, a series of paintings by Colin Martin exploring ambiguous sci-fi subjects betraying modernist futuristic fantasies. Martin’s realism utilises a calm and banal painterly execution, to chilling effect. Robot children and cyberphobic computer banks assert the future is now and it is sufferable. Conor McGarrigle’s #RiseandGrind gave the opposite impression. His ordered algorithmic systems of thought, manifested across interconnected screens, seemed beyond human apprehension and tolerance. Denis McNulty’s video installation, David (Timefeel), featured the music and animated stills of a fresh-faced Bruce Springsteen, trapped in an endless recursive edit.
An exquisite contradiction to these restrained works was Stella Rahola Matutes’s Babel, teetering upright pillars of shimmering borosilicate glass. Invigilators hovered nearby to defend the delicate baroque shafts from the vibration of viewer’s footfall. This building has a vast underground concrete edifice, which was occupied by Jesse Jones’s Zarathustra, cinematic documentation of the Artane Band performing in an abandoned Ballymun swimming pool, wistfully redolent of failed housing projects in Dublin’s recent past. The bleak chamber was haunted by the notorious past atrocities and abuses perpetrated on the children of the original Boys Band, part of the Artane industrial school.
As explored in much of the works included in Shevlin’s edition of TULCA, the ‘syntonic’ also evokes sensations of longing for previously experienced states of harmony or oneness with our surroundings. Nostalgia and a yearning for an idealised past or future, was succinctly expressed in Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009), the work of Cyprien Gaillard installed in 126, Galway’s artist-run gallery. This 16mm film has the aura of seductive lost worlds. A mirrored tower block dissolving in a controlled explosion, and the sun-drenched rutting contests of young men, provided haunting metaphors for evanescent desire.
In syntonic accord at the Electric nightclub, Mark Leckey’s 1999 cult film, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, used found footage to show the evolution of Britain’s nightlife, from Northern Soul and disco to rave culture. Joanne Laws also developed this theme with her text for the festival’s catalogue, which presented an ethnography of rave culture, rooted in her lived experience. She writes memorably that “when returning to a place where I’ve previously spent a lot of time, I half expect to see ghosts of myself in the street, going about everyday business”.1 These phantoms of place and identity were further elaborated in Bassam Al-Sabah’s newly commissioned CGI film work and sculptural installation, Wandering wandering with the sun on my back(2018), at NUIG Gallery. The film features a shimmering young man, trapped in a series of bizarre architectures located in dystopian, desert-like landscapes. Reminiscent of computer game aesthetics, the film implicates the viewer in the protagonist’s struggle to endure traumatic displacements, amidst transcendent, hallucinogenic transformations.
Galway Arts Centre’s ground floor collocated the vibrant neo-fauvist-style paintings and shrine-like banners of Eleanor McCaughey, in her multipart work, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed. In close proximity, Gavin Murphy’s wall installation and narrative video explored the material and cultural histories of the now-defunct Eblana Theatre at Dublin’s Busáras. The work captured fading aspirations of the modern Irish state to locate public memory in our past fantasies of social organisation. Upstairs in the centre, Paul Murnaghan tethered a blackened inflatable island to a heavy weight, under a relentlessly blowing fan, a sad and funny tableau in contrast to Marcel Vidal’s pitch-black colonnades, which incorporated petrified deer hooves and hardware materials, implying a sadistic but satirical violence.
Ciarán Óg Arnold showed the intriguingly titled photographic series, I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed, channeling Wolfgang Tillmans’s sentiment that “only when you are aware of how tragic life can be, can you also enjoy the depth of a party through the night”.2Other works at the centre were Ciara O’Kelly’s dual-screen video installation, which uses the promotional languages of corporate advertising, with slick humour and elegance. Susanne Wawra’s photo-transfer paintings, based on personal archives from her childhood in East Germany, were suggestive of the dim and aching memory of lost social realities.
TULCA events this year included a ‘Nostalgic Listening Club’ with Mark Garry, where participants honoured and shared beloved music collections, housed across old and defunct formats, such as cassette tapes, vinyl, gramophone discs and CDs. The Domestic Godless returned to the city soon after a GIAF residency, resuming their crusade to bring flavoursome tastes to celebrate and expand the culturally and historically entangled relationship between society and food. Collaborating with Deirdre O’Mahony in Mind Meitheal, along with EU research centre, CERERE, they presented new imaginings for a ‘heritage cereal renaissance’. Giving material form to this project, Sadhbh Gaston’s emphatic embroidered fabric banners were installed in Sheridan’s on the market. In addition, British writer and journalist Owen Hatherley spoke to Declan Long about his new book, Ministry of Nostalgia, described as a “stimulating polemic” against “austerity nostalgia”. This was followed by a screening of the radical documentary HyperNormalisation by British filmmaker, Adam Curtis, which was introduced by Conn Holohan.
In all, TULCA 2018 provided a rich mix of speculative viewpoints on syntony – a state that seems difficult to attain in modern life, as evidenced by the disconnect we currently manifest, in relation to our ecological and political environments. Clearly, a syntonic state is something to aspire to.
Áine Phillips is an artist based in County Galway.
Joanne Laws, ‘Feed Your Head: The Speculative Futures of Rave', TULCA 2018 catalogue essay.
Wolfgang Tillmans quoted in Ha Duong, ‘Photographers Who Captured the Ecstasy and Abandon of Rave Culture’, 7 September 2018, artsy.net.
Mark Leckey, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, 1999, video installation, Electric; photograph ©Jonathan Sammon, courtesy TULCA Festival of Visual Arts.
Jesse Jones, Zarathustra, HD film, installation view, Fairgreen House; photograph ©Jonathan Sammon, courtesy TULCA Festival of Visual Arts.
Eleanor McCaughey, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, 2018, installation view, Galway Arts Centre; photograph ©Jonathan Sammon, courtesy TULCA Festival of Visual Arts
‘Nostalgic Listening Club’ with Mark Garry, 10 November, The Mechanics Institute; photograph ©Jonathan Sammon, courtesy TULCA Festival of Visual Arts
Empty commercial spaces around Galway have been given a new lease of life as exhibition spaces for the annual Tulca Festival.
Organisers have accessed a number of vacant properties across the city, to display a wide selection of contemporary visual art.
TULCA focuses on the work of Irish artists and as well as giving a platform to their work, aims to bring it to as wide an audience as possible.
Each year, festival organisers identify specific locations across the city that can be repurposed as exhibition spaces. This year, a former homewares store in the city centre has been turned into the official festival gallery.
Other exhibitions are being held in old churches, smaller galleries and in a city nightclub.
Festival curator, Linda Shevlin, said the aim was to attract people into locations they might not usually access to enjoy art they might not usually view.
Among the venues is a 200-square-metre basement space, where a short film is being shown throughout the day.
Festival-goers are brought to the basement in small groups to view the installation.
An extensive outreach programme, that has involved over 1,000 Galway school students in recent months, is also culminating with a special art trail, on which families are encouraged to visit different exhibitions across the city.
The event continues until Sunday evening.