Exhibition: The House of Oscar Wilde (as imagined by Arthur Cravan) 30 Aug – 6 Sept

The House of Oscar Wilde (as imagined by Arthur Cravan)

30th August – 6th September

Showing at Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, Dublin

Multimedia installation, beginning 30th of August (live performance and opening at 6pm) to the 6th of September, with live performances on the 4th and 5th of September, followed by a closing film screening and discussion on the 7th of September

The project is curated by Vladimir Dotsenko (Trinity CollegeDublin).

This exhibition is a tribute to Arthur Cravan, born in 1887, Lausanne, Switzerland, who disappeared on a sailboat in 1918 off the coast of Salina Cruz, Mexico – a poet, a pugilist, an iconic figure for the Dada movement, and, last but not least, Oscar Wilde’s nephew.

This project is a multimedia installation The House of Oscar Wilde (as imagined by Arthur Cravan) inspired by writings of Oscar Wilde’s wife’s nephew, Arthur Cravan (an iconic figure in 1910s) about Wilde’s house in London.

The Irish writer was much more than a distant family member to Cravan, not merely the uncle he never met – he became a role model, a figure whose steps he needed to follow. The hunt of the ghost of Oscar Wilde later became a fundamental part of Cravan’s own work.

The House of Oscar Wilde is a multimedia project, including a mise en scène based on Cravan’s writings about Wilde, live performances, and even a film screening.

The writings that served as inspiration for this work were published in 1917, in the 4th issue of the New York avant-garde magazine, The Soil, which was almost entirely dedicated to Wilde; it contains a number of “documents never published before”, including a piece about Wilde’s house in London, attributed by Cravan to his father.

This text includes an extremely precise description, illustrated by two sketches, indicating the location of each piece of furniture, painting, and decorative objects in the writer’s house. Since there are not enough documents or photographs that allow us to recreate the space, and the objects that surrounded Wilde’s daily existence, Cravan’s texts, despite being a work of fiction, constitute an artefact of first importance, offering us, the readers, a starting point for imagining it.

Materialising things that Cravan once imagined is already a fitting artistic concept to mark the centenary of his disappearance. As an added bonus, the exhibition takes place in House 21 in Westland Row, where Oscar Wilde was born. More than merely highlighting this lesser-known Dublin landmark, the fact that this Dublin location serves as the space for an exhibition re-imagining Wilde’s house in London creates a beautiful resonance with the celebrated installation in Hugh Lane Gallery, where Francis Bacon’s London studio is re-created.

This project embodies a collective effort of many people around the world, including craftswomen in Mexico, an artist from Colombia, a translator from the US, a writer from the Netherlands, and an Irish actress. The artist who conceived this project specialises in anonymous ephemeral art events. Previous locations where his artistic actions took place include Barcelona, Naples, Tel Aviv, Mexico City and Amsterdam.

The exhibition is showing at Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, from the 30th of August (live performance and opening at 6pm) to the 6th of September, with live performances on the 4th and 5th of September, followed by a closing film screening and discussion on the 7th of September.

More information is available at:

https://www.facebook.com/houseofoscarwilde/

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