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Belfast Exposed Photography: John Duncan : Bonfires - 13 June 2008 to 18 July 2008

Current Exhibition


13 June 2008 to 18 July 2008
Gallery open Tuesday to Saturday Ė 11am to 5pm
Exhibition opening: Friday 13 June, 7 - 9pm
Belfast Exposed Photography
The Exchange Place
23 Donegall Street
BT1 2FF
Belfast
United Kingdom
Europe
p: 44 028 9023 1606
m:
f:
w: www.belfastexposed.org











Glencairn Way, Belfast (2004) from Bonfires by John Duncan
Courtesy of Belfast Exposed Photography
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Artists in this exhibition: John Duncan


BONFIRES
John Duncan

Opening Friday 13 June, 7 - 9pm
Runs from 14 June Ė 18 July 2008


Bonfires, produced over three years, documents a long-standing tradition of bonfire building by Protestant communities in Belfast. The bonfires are built in preparation for the annual 11th July celebrations, which commemorate the defeat of James Stuart at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The imposing bonfire structures are a powerful provocation with which Protestant identity is asserted and a sense of solidarity and continuity is re-affirmed.

Duncanís photographs frame and measure the structures against their various social settings, revealing both a sense of Belfastís changing urban landscape and the deep divisions that, despite political progress, still affect Northern Ireland long after the ceasefires. The bonfires have recently been challenged from a number of quarters: from within the Protestant community for damage caused to property and surrounding areas; from developers who covet the waste land they are built on; and from environmentalists who express concerns about the pollution they cause. Seen against this backdrop of competing agendas, the bonfires come to express a form of resistance, and their building a kind of raw ingenuity.

Duncanís work dwells on the fact that each bonfire has a singular structure, an identity. They are sculptural and architectural oddities with many resonances through history and art, from high-rise flats to military watchtowers and gun emplacements, from the Empire State Building to the Tower of Babel. Duncanís photographs are alive to these broader themes and their various photographic connections, for example, with Bernd and Hilla Becherís meticulous documenting of industrial architecture. But the typological aspects of the work are just one of its many rich undercurrents, never diminishing the primary impact of the photographs or the importance of the social and political reality that they confront head on.

ARTISTíS BIOGRAPHY
John Duncan was born and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied Documentary Photography at Newport, Wales and Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art. Since 1994 he has co-edited Source photographic magazine. His work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions including, Imago, Centre of Photography Salamanca 1997, Stills Gallery Edinburgh 1998, On the Bright Side of Life, Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst Berlin 1998, Gallery of Photography Dublin 2002, Belfast Exposed 2003, Photography Towards a Sculptural Impulse, Dazibao Montrťal 2006, Gimpel Fils London 2006, East, Norwich Gallery 2006, Loaded Landscapes, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago 2007.

PUBLICATION
Bonfires
Co-published by Steidl, Belfast Exposed Photography and Photoworks
Essays by Colin Graham and Mary Warner Marien
Book design by LOUP
72 pages with 24 colour plates
280mm x 290mm
Hardcover
Price £20/ Ä25/ $40




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