Lunchtime Tour of ‘The Odyssey’ with John Kindness

RHA Learning

Gallagher Gallery
On 9 Feb, 2024

Join artist John Kindness for a tour of his current exhibition 'The Odyssey'

Inspired by James Joyce’s version of the Odyssey, Ulysses, Kindness presents an extraordinary and varied visual language in his exhibition The Odyssey to represent episodes from Odysseus’s decade-long detour on his return to Ithaca, following the siege of Troy.

He draws on the detailed nature of Joyce’s writing to direct the format of his visual representation. What appeals to him the most about Joyce’s iteration of Homer’s Odyssey is that he ignored nothing – every written scrap, from shopping lists to Shakespeare, was brought into his writing and made relevant to his bigger picture.

For much of his artistic career, Kindness has applied what he calls a ‘museum as medium’ approach to representing his subjects. His bodies of work take the form of theoretical museum exhibits, involving prosaic objects endowed with a new significance: Attic taxi cab fragments and subway frescoes, for example are enriched with contemporary significance, while referencing the past. This is perhaps inspired by his childhood visits to the Ulster Museum, which taught him how to look at a culture by reading texts and even more importantly, that you could read that culture by examining its objects and artifacts.

The fundamental and timeless relevance of Greek mythology underpins Kindness’s endeavour and gives rise to his use of modern forms while staying faithful to Homer’s narrative and the natures of his characters. Here, you will see the hazards of Scylla and Charybdis engraved onto a toilet seat, Odysseus’s teenage son listening to albums by ‘The Sirens’ and ‘The Gorgons’, and Poseidon’s branded sailor snacks.

Artist Bio:

Born 1951, Northern Ireland, Kindness graduated from Belfast College of Art in 1974. Throughout his career Kindness has used traditional methods such as mosaic and fresco painting to explore contemporary themes and defy conventional notions of the fine art object.

By mimicking the visual styles of Ancient Greek vase-painting, he suggests that the residues of contemporary life will be the artefacts of the future. Kindness has been exhibiting since the 1990s. His work is represented in a number of national and international collections including; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Victoria & Albert Museum, UK, British Museum, UK and Boston Museum of Fine Art, USA.

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    9 Feb, 2024
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