GB and the Western World
Galway Arts Centre, October, 2005.

Gordon-Bennett!
Grennan Mill,
Kilkenny Arts Festival, August, 2004.


catalogue essay by Noel Kelly from Kilkenny Arts Festival PDF

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Bennett Island, 2005
acrylic, perspex, wood, metal, inkjet print, paint, MDF, vinyl adhesive sticker
95 x 330 x 150 cm

Bennett Island is one the De Long Islands in the northern part of the East Siberian Sea. The island was discovered by George DeLong of the tragic Jeannette expedition in July 1881 and named after James Gordon Bennett, Jr., who had financed the expedition. Although Siberia is now known for oil exploration and production, the island was also the site of secret testing of Soviet electromagnetic weapons in the 1970’s.

 

Gordon Bennett Show & Shine Sound Off, 2005
DVD video, duration 3:54 mins

This video was shot at an event held during the Fused Festival in Tallaght, at the Dublin South County Hall rear car park in July 2005. The event was organised though various enthusiast web sites and the car owners competed in several categories for custom-made trophies.

for more information and newspaper article on the Gordon Bennett Sound Off

Grandstand, 2004
acrylic, wood
400 x 85 x 200 cm

This collapsed viewing stand is based on one constructed as a bridge across the road near Ballyshannon for the Gordon Bennett Cup Race held in 1903 outside Athy. The race was held in Ireland as special legislation was passed to allow higher speeds than in Britain where the race was originally scheduled to take place. This Grandstand is a reconstruction of possible archaeological remnants.




 

Hill of Shouts, 2004
photographic print on vinyl mesh
600 x 200 cm

This place marked the start of the Gordon Bennett Road Race held in 1903. The mound is a motte or bailey dating to the 12th or 13th century, called Ardscull which means Hill of Shouts. It is located just outside Athy.

 
click for more images

 

Fireplace, 2004
paper, toner, wood, poster paint, PVC,
vinyl adhesive stickers
200 x 151 x 100 cm

James Gordon Bennett, Jr. was well known as a philanderer and playboy, so much so that his name became a byword because of his eccentric and boorish ways. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under ‘Greatest Engagement Faux Pas’ for having his engagement to Caroline May broken off in 1877 after he arrived late and drunk at the May family’s New York mansion and urinated in the living room fireplace in front of his hosts. This Fireplace uses images from a wood carved medieval fireplace located originally in Old Bawn near Tallaght, now held by the National Museum.

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Headline Drawings, 2004
ink on trace paper, framed
20 x 29 cm
(22 drawings in total)

Key events from each year between 1871 and 1903 are presented as semi-sensational newspaper headlines, broadcast via mobile phone masts disguised as Scot’s pine trees. The headlines include major news items and James Gordon Bennett, Jr.’s sponsored events like the Road Race held in 1903 near Athy and expeditions to the Artic and Africa. These provided spectacular stories for his newspaper the New York Herald Tribune.

 

GB Shields, 2004
metal, rubber, vinyl adhesive stickers
various sizes, approx. 50 x 250 x 4 cm

These shields are cut from actual car hoods into these heraldic shapes. The various ‘GB’ letters are taken from car manufacturing corporate logos.

click for more images

Arklow Racers, 2004
face mounted duratrans photograph, light fixture, glass, wood
51 x 27 x 9 cm
image: 31 x 26 cm

This image is of a group of modified car enthusiasts, sometimes known as Boy Racers, who attended a Show and Shine event in Arklow, June 2004.