Sean Lynch: The Weight of the World 14 May-2 July 2016

Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery,

Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm

Spacex, in partnership with Exeter Phoenix and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, presents The Weight of the World, a solo exhibition by Irish artist Sean Lynch featuring three new video commissions and the UK premiere of the projected video element of Adventure: Capital, that represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale 2015.

Split across the two adjacent sites of Exeter Phoenix and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM), Lynch’s new works are directly informed by artefacts from the Museum’s collection of over one million objects, in particular its recent acquisition of the Seaton Down Hoard, one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain, discovered by a metal detectorist in nearby East Devon.

Produced at RAMM and in locations throughout the UK and Ireland, Lynch’s new commission, Campaign to Change the National Monuments Acts (2016), considers the legal status of metal detectors in his native Ireland. Following national controversy around the finding of the Derrynaflan Hoard, a medieval treasure trove uncovered in the 1980s, the Irish government hastily placed a blanket ban on the public use of all devises used to search for archaeological objects, effectively destroying the Irish metal detectorist community.  Lynch’s work, appearing akin to a promotional video, advocates for a change in these authoritarian laws, where ideas of nationhood, individual freedom, and the need for community-led heritage are all explored on a journey narrated by his long-time collaborator Gina Moxley.

The two additional new video commissions centre on stone carving, a recurring theme in Lynch’s work.  Displayed at Exeter Phoenix, The Vermiculation of Exeter (2016) maps local sites that portray the titular architectural decorative technique. Irregular holes and tracts are carved onto a stone façade, seeming to represent worms eating their way through the stone, turning a building into rubble and ruin and thus symbolising the inevitable decay of all things. A further new work, The Weight of the World (2016), shown at RAMM, documents the procession of a stone fragment from a Dominican Friary choir screen as it is removed from its case in RAMM and carried to the original priory site, now part of the Princesshay Shopping Precinct in Exeter City Centre.

At Exeter Phoenix, the video element of Adventure: Capital (2014 -15), made for the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015, sees Lynch trace a journey from myth to minimalism around Ireland and Britain while unravelling notions of value and the flow of capital.

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