Friday, 4 September 2015


This morning at 8 a.m. this, the latest edition of the Irish Arts review, dropped through my letterbox.
Fantastic, I thought. I ripped it out of its plastic bag and flicked nervously to the rear of the magazine.
On the way I came across a great  review of the work of  Eamon Doyle with two pages of images.A piece on an upcoming Sean Hillen show. An interesting article by Anthony Haughey, calling for a new National Museum of Photography, or Centre for Contemporary Photography and a new school of photography offering undergraduate degrees, Masters and PhD programs. This article was coloured with work from some recent graduates from various colleges around the country. Photography was also well represented in an article about recent art graduates.
Anyhow, on I went, I scoured the books section at the rear, under a review of a book that I must check out called Visual Notes on the Recession Time in Ireland 2013, by Tom Szustec, I found it.
 At last!
 The Irish Arts Review, review of On Leaving.
Here it is and big thanks to Ros Kavanagh for the very positive review.

The New York Times used the phrase 'crash art’ to describe the substantial body of work born out of the recent recession. We have seen the illusion of prosperity evaporate, exposing an all-too-familiar empty landscape bearing the scars of material folly. It was however a sign of hope that we can make art about this at all. David Monahan has been determinedly engaged in his widely reported on project Leaving Dublin since 2010. Arising from a measured anger at ‘politicians’ brushing aside of the hardship of immigration, he sought  and photographed those leaving Dublin for a better life elsewhere. Following a successful series of exhibitions, he has collected this work in On Leaving. Superbly produced, it is set out in three sections: "empty spaces"-large format images made a time of locations that Monahan describes as sacred to his subjects; "Leaving Dublin"-84 nighttime images of individuals, couples and families on the cusp of leaving; "visitation"-the series of images produced during follow-up visits to the emigres, some of whom have returned.

The book has contributed essays and poetry by Sarah Maria Griffin, Piaras Mac Énri, Noreen Bowden, Jennifer Redmond, as well as text by Monahan. These are set out so that both text and images can be read in parallel, without referring specifically to one and another. None of the main plates are titled, but forbearance is rewarded by a richly detailed appendix with dates, locations, names and anecdotes.

The central images of the book are the stylised night portraits from Leaving Dublin. Rigourously constructed and playfully lit, they exhibit a theatricality that prepares the ground for their stories to be sought out and read. A final text by Monahan shows the personal connection  made with the subjects and the endeavour of his commitment over the last five years. His encyclopaedic blog-the Lilliputian-is a must for further enquiry.

Reading through the review I was delighted. Then bang, just as I finished reading my phone binged!
I checked  the source of this phone chatter to see that a limited edition of the book had been purchased by some one across town.
Someone who obviously around the same time as me had received their copy of the Arts Review.
It's in the post now as I type and I am hopeful for more action on the foot of this review.
I am delighted to be in the Arts Review, but especially delighted to be in an edition so rich with photographic content and interest.
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