CEAL FLOYER_Garbage bag (1996)_

garbage bag_air and twist-tie_

Lisson Gallery_1996_

My first experience of Ceal Floyer’s work was through a found tabloid newspaper that had been discarded on a bus seat en route to college in 1997. The headline read: “Modern Art is mistaken for rubbish.” The short column went on to reveal that an employee from some large gallery had thrown out Floyer’s Garbage Bag (1996). You can assume by the title of the work—and you would be right—that Garbage Bag was exactly that, a garbage bag, filled with air and secured with a twist-tie. You could also say that there is more ‘air’ than substance to Floyer’s art practice. Most of the artist’s works can be summed up in one sentence:

Floyer’s art is situated at the heal of the image and the foot of language. It is where Marcel Duchamp ends and Carl Andre begins, the building blocks of Conceptualism. A time when the dumb aestheticism of the image was replaced by an unadulterated art object that ‘talked back' so to speak.

There is an instance on entering the work of Floyer when you get the ‘punchline’. There is no spectacle or long winded build-up to the punchline. We enter. We get it. We are left with the residue of language, not an image. Floyer’s art erases the reflective ‘side effect’ of art. Her objects are closed. They are selfish [Self-involved]. This is the reason her art has such a rare objective clarity. They are equations for art, or art equations, reduced to the lowest common denominator.


An Elevator up the Ivory Tower

CEAL FLOYER_Things_Project Arts Centre_Dublin_11 March – 23 April_2011_

“...the way to resist the talking image is the conceptual image; it speaks. It speaks silently. But loud enough for us to hear it...”

Paul Virilio in conversation with Sylvère Lotringer, The Accident of Art, Semiotext(e), 2005.

An office rolodex with alternating representations of a chicken and an egg on the index cards. egg/chicken (2005)

An overhead projection of an actual lightbulb rather than a representation of a lightbulb, onto a wall at ceiling height. Overhead Projection (2006)

A ‘stairway’ of speakers with the sound of footsteps rising in pitch. Scale (2007)

Oversized projection of a Bonsai Tree. Overgrowth (2004)

A projection of a light switch onto a wall. Light Switch (1992-99)

A projection of a nail being hammered into a wall. Nail (1997)

Two megaphones with the mouths of both placed together. Secret (2009)

A till receipt attached to a wall with a shopping list of all white products such as “flour” and “salt.” Monochrome Till Receipt (White) (1999).

The artist biting her nails on the stage of Symphony Hall in Birmingham before an actual musical performance. Nail Biting Performance (2001)



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