False Memory Syndrome

Four artists respond to Temple Bar Gallery + Studios history, archive and place

In 2013, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios celebrates its 30th Anniversary. The organisation was founded in 1983 by Jenny Haughton, who invited a group of artists to claim space within a semi derelict factory building in Temple Bar. Through the vision and determination of a number of individuals, over the intervening years the building was transformed into a purpose built complex of artists work spaces and a gallery. TBG+S has been a site where countless new projects, practices, friendships and careers have been created over the last 30 years , and at the same time much has been lost. Memories remain in the minds of the artists who worked and continue to work at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Paper files have been discarded, or archived at the National Irish Visual Arts Library. Computer files have been left on old hard drives, never to be recovered.

Michael Boran’s work ‘Far and Away’ comes from the artists own archive. Michael Boran is an artist who has been a studio member at TBG+S since 1991. Two years before TBG+S opened its renovated building, the area was used as a stand in for Boston in the 1890s for the film ‘Far and Away’. Boran’s photographs are a curious mixture of document and fiction. In choosing this brief interlude from the history of the area Boran captures some of the architectural facts and sense of the area from which TBG+S emerged, yet it is overlaid with false clues to somewhere else, a more remote past which strangely prefigures touristic expectations and Mary Harney’s famous signalling of “Boston not Berlin” as a development model. As he points out, ‘false history was quickly to become the norm in Temple Bar, as pubs opened with signs proclaiming “established in 1870” , the installation of cobblestones  and the general repackaging of the area as a themed destination’. In Boran’s photographs, past and present merge in a strange palimpsest. We get a glimpse of competing pasts and a nostalgia for a more recent time when the possibility of a new cultural quarter in the city was still a blank canvas.

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