The Aughrim community was out in force earlier this month to celebrate the official opening of the Aughrim ‘Kunstverein’, as part of the Aughrim Heritage and Arts Weekend.
‘Kunstverein’, which literally translates to ‘Art club’, is a close network of 400-year-old non-profit domestic spaces, which aims to show the practices, attempts and failures of avant-garde artists. guard (of all ages) who have been underestimated in the history of contemporary art.
The Aughrim Kunstverein curatorial initiative was developed and founded by contemporary art curator Kate Strain, who served as artistic director of the Grazer Kunstverein, Austria, from 2016 to 2021.
“The launch went really well, although we didn’t have the best weather,” Kate said. “We had people there from as far away as Austria and Amsterdam, Belfast and London. There were people from Limerick Galway, Donegal and Wexford. We even took a bus from Dublin.
“Fortunately, the rain held up well enough. It actually helped create a great community atmosphere – everyone gathered in the pavilion and it became nice and cozy. We had tea and cookies, and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves.
As part of the launch, Kate unveiled the inaugural commission of Aughrim Kunstverein: a site-specific permanent installation by artist collective ‘Forerunner’, which saw a giant piece of Aughrim granite, which weighs more than a ton, brought into the new arts office. Entitled “Granite Leap”, the work was launched as part of a public program of new artistic commissions.
The launch program included a brilliant performance by Isadora Epstein at Frrester’s Hall, who performed a play against a backdrop painted by Dublin artist Kathy Tynan. There was also photography by Rich Gilligan, collaborative writing by Yurika Higashikawa, hospitality designed by Jennie Moran and an exhibition of the Aughrim Intangible Heritage Collection by the 1798 Club (Aughrim Active Retirement Group in conjunction with Kunstverein Aughrim).
Earlier this weekend, Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Arklow, Pat Kennedy, opened an exhibition of the Aughrim Intangible Heritage Collection by The Aughrim Active Retirement Group.
The community initiative consists primarily of a collection of articles, documents, objects, photographs, ephemera, artifacts and other memorabilia of social, historical or personal significance, which tell the stories of Aughrim. These range from a 1920s wedding dress to old ration books, to a 1950s telephone and old hen’s leg tags.
As part of the opening, attendees also heard a reading by local actress and drama teacher Andrea Kelly of local historian Irene Kinsella’s ‘Who Remembers; Aughrim our Granite City’, and opening address by Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer at Wicklow County Council.
The event marked the first developmental step in creating an inventory of intangible heritage objects that the Aughrim Active Retirement Group is compiling.
Kunstverein Aughrim is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Wicklow County Council. For more information visit www.kunstverein.ie or contact [email protected]