Studies in Time and Distance




The past strange months of the covid-19 pandemic have often caused me to think about the idea of “the uncanny” or “das unheimlich”- which translates from the german not just as un-homely or sinister but the more insidious anxiety of the familiar becoming strange. During the lockdown I spent some time at my childhood home, a place that I’ve known most of my life but rarely looked at objectively. Making pictures there as an adult and during this weird time, where home is simultaneously both refuge and prison, allowed me to explore my own understanding of the limits of photography to translate time and enclosure. In paying attention to the house and how the spaces of the house change over the day, it surprised me often with its strangeness and how details took on a new significance through the prism of a changed world. Small temporary structures were an attempt to contain light or shadow in the same way that the photograph arrests time, a micro-architecture of enclosure and of looking beyond, an attempt to control the domestic environment if only as a construct within an image.

Aisling McCoy is an Irish visual artist and she is interested in how we inhabit and imagine place. Her background as an architect is central to her practice, which investigates the relationship between architecture and photography, between place making and image making. She sees them as twinned practices; architecture is the translation of an intellectual concept, created through images, into built form, while photography works in the reverse by transforming a space into an image. Both negotiate a balance between the real and the ideal, and both influence how we inhabit – how we make place, and how we construct meaning.

Since graduating with distinction from the MFA Photography programme at the Belfast School of Art in 2015, her work has been exhibited internationally. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award,  Visual Arts Bursary Award and Travel and Training Award, the Belfast Exposed/ Seen Fifteen Exhibition Award and the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Project Studio Award. In 2019 she was awarded a 3 month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in association with TBG+S and the Institut Français, selected for PhotoIreland New Irish Works and the Futures Programme at Unseen Amsterdam, and nominated for the Prix Pictet.

Copyright © Aisling McCoy, all rights reserved

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