Subverting the traditional boundaries of image and object, mixed media artist Helen Horgan investigates structures of thought and systems of belief through unorthodox archival and biographical methods. Taking the form of a sculptural diary Horgan’s work involves ongoing personal attempts at grasping the production of incidents of meaning, as played out through the logic of language and the mechanics of her artistic processes. Using a variety of materials including fabric, sound and text, visually excessive spaces evolve where the idiosyncratic aspects of the human character unfold.
Driven by an embodied responsiveness to the immediate environment Horgan’s practice has personal rather than political intentions, only insofar as either of these realms can be strictly demarcated. Her sculptural and installation works function primarily as sites of rupture and dislocation between the private and the civic realm. Here the individual and the singular finds itself in a unnerving state of constant transfiguration; boats become islands, figures become mountains, graphic marks or written ‘characters’ bear smiles. Stand alone pieces block easy objectification, preferring to exist as both man-made structures and imminently present ‘beings’. Complex narratives are often held together by an intricate fusion of personal and historical myths. In this way a playful and childish humour infuses the work which is sometimes idiotic in an almost carnivalesque sense, whilst maintaining a tactile affection for the tragically human.
Horgan was born in 1975 in Cork. She studied at the Institute of Art Design and Technology where she received a BA (Hons) in Visual Arts Practice (1.1) and at University College Dublin where she recently attained a distinction for her degree of Masters of Arts in Contemporary Philosophy. Her work has been shown in Ireland and abroad including No Soul For Sale at the Tate Modern in London. Current and upcoming projects include a group boat building project at the Good Hatchery, Co. Offaly and the fifth installation of the collaborative archival project “The LFTT* Live Library” at the Highlanes in Drogheda. Horgan is currently researching the role of gesture in the work of Derrida and Wittgenstein in preparation for doctorate work. She is a member of The Writing Workshop and is co-founder of The Legs Foundation for the Translation of Things (LFTT) with writer and artist Danyel M. Ferrari (NY).