Pádraig’s background is in philosophy and photography. In 2010, he cofounded Stag & Deer with Pamela Condell, a photography curation team showcasing emerging Irish and international photographers such as Viviane Sassen, Miriam O’Connor, Mariela Sancari, Roseanne Lynch and Zhang Kechun. He is intrigued by the dialogue that is created between the 2D and the 3D in relation to photographic image. He took up his studies again at CIT Crawford College of Art and Design with the MA in Art & Process. Through this course he developed a multidisciplinary art practice, mixing photographs, collage, sculptures and installations.
By crossing techniques and mediums, Spillane explores the relationship between image and object plus their relation to the spectator. His current work includes the representation of the body in the area of ultra media and technology. Medical and bio-pharmaceutical advances today allow the reconstruction of bodies, the creation of titanium limbs, the printing of organs; how do we perceive this new malleability of the body? Where are we moving? These questions bring to our contemporaries both anxiety and fascination for the man-machine, an emblematic character of science fiction. The Cybermen of the Dr Who series – biological entities improved cybernetically to the point of losing their civility, keeping only a few parts of their original organic structure – are thus at the origin of the artist’s anthropomorphic works, such as “A New Place to Touch “, a human-sized rectangular units composed of a steel structure and PVC skins. This work was further influenced by Robert Morris’ work “Box for Standing”, and modularisation.
The perception we have of our body is modified by the many technological advances and also by the proliferation of media and the instrumentalisation of the body as an image of desire. With his photographic collages and his installations, Spillane extracts from press and advertising, images of desire – postures, gestures or suggestive expressions – making them strange. He then questions our relationship to the body: how we desire?; what repulses us? His work “Crush (Every Time We Touch)” associates the high definition photo of an open mouth with a tongue protruding and a red yard brush. It creates a certain discomfort and humour. This part of the body, a place of desire and the love encounter is also the place of evidence, being a public place of contact, communication, and contamination.
The body is described in Spillane’s work as a socially constructed anthropological object, the perception and representation of our body evolving with our society, according to social, medical, religious or political developments. His works were presented last year at the Crawford Art Gallery, as part of the exhibition “Naked Truth: The Nude in Irish Art”, retracing the evolution of the representation of the nude, from the Middle Ages to nowadays.
In addition to his artistic practice, Padraig pursues a curatorial career at the Sternview Gallery, Nash 19, and teaches photography at the Cork Institute of Technology’s Department of Fine Art & Applied Art.
Rachel Chenu – 2019
(Article in French on Pausart.fr)