The title of this exhibition of new work by Aleana Egan, ‘nature had an inside’ is taken from Saul Bellow’s 1987 novel, ‘More Die of Heartbreak.’ Frequently absorbed by language and literature, the works presented here are not an attempt to translate such texts into the physical, but rather operate as a pause, a noting and a generative mining of the experience of different mediums. Notably Egan engages her interest in the possibilities and effects of an interplay between literature and sculpture; two genres which often oppose in influence.
Parallel to these literary interests, Egan’s practice is often a response to the material world of architecture and to the sphere of human interaction. Imagining shapes as traces and memories, Egan develops the sculptures as an emotional record of this built world. It is often the gaps and impressions of architecture that Egan focuses on rather than the whole and as a result we are only offered glances: the sculptures attempting at something just previous to intellectualizing, a record of a first and initial response before complete understanding.
Egan’s work has been described as a process of collecting and inclusion and that the process of making offers ‘a pause in life.’ In this sense the work has a strong link to time, recollecting and remembering. Shown here are a body of sculptural and larger scale installation works that incorporate building materials such as felt and steel alongside the raw materials of card, cotton, paint and filler. These components are chosen for both their aesthetic qualities and inherent structural qualities, how they sit, fall, cut and are malleable.
Also featured in the exhibition is a new video work, made in collaboration with Harriet Tritton, ‘Suzy Tells.’ This work takes its title from Jean Rhys’ diary, which was edited and re-categorized by journalist, Mrs H. Pearl Adam. The title was later changed by writer and publisher Ford Madox Ford and eventually published in part as a novel called ‘Triple Sec’ in 1924. For Egan, it is this renaming and emphasis on categorization, marked for its evidence of control and context, that holds interest.
The video itself extends Egan’s Readings series, a group of films featuring chosen individuals reading aloud texts that are important to them. This new work focuses in on fragmented text and non-linear narratives from various sources that have been chosen by Tritton and Egan, in which Rhys’s raw prose features as a prominent example of emotional identification through language.
This exhibition was generously supported by Culture Ireland.