Sometimes the river flows backwards | Cara Farnan

Sometimes the river flows backwards | Cara Farnan

Sometimes the river flows backwards | Cara Farnan

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Curated by Roisín Bohan, Basic Space Dublin.

10 January – 07 February. Opens Thursday 09 January 2020, 6pm with performance by Jennifer Moore.

Kindly sponsored by The River Lee.


Sometimes the river flows backwards,
A mouth swallowing up the salty sea,
Gulping it back and retreating to the foothills of the mountains,
Taking water in, not letting water out.

So as you listen, hold a cup in your hands,
And when the words finally stop coming
lift the cup
and drink the ones you caught

like the river

swallowing the sea.


Basic Space, in association with Backwater Artists Group, is delighted to present the first solo exhibition by Cara Farnan. The exhibition is comprised of an arrangement of drawings, ceramics, soft sculpture, fabric, found objects, text, and sound (in collaboration with Jennifer Moore). The title Sometimes the river flows backwards, emerged from Farnan’s observations of the reverse flow of water in the river Liffey, which Farnan overlooked when she occupied a studio on Ormond Quay in Dublin.

In this new body of work, Farnan considers how forces, imperceptible to us, inform our psyche. She considers the mouth as a portal, a passageway, a gap in the boundary of the body which separates our internal world from the external world. Mouths are also imagined as pockets, vessels, and containers from which sound is emitted, transporting ideas and beliefs to other bodies, creating a cause and effect. This process of exchange, of attempting to externalise the internal, involves a degree of relinquishing control over our individual sovereignty. In highlighting this, Farnan seeks to show the fundamental ways in which we rely on and are made up of our relationships with the people, places and objects surrounding us.

Underlying the exhibition is a narrative of a character who, out of fear, attempts to keep their voice inside, only to find it expelled in a manner of unusual ways. The exhibition visually deconstructs this fantastical story – a landscape of mouths swallows up words, amorphous figures carry pockets of thoughts, and a mouth creates a window that provides a different view.

Cara Farnan (b. 1994, Dublin) is a Visual Artist based in Utrecht, NL. Farnan’s practice includes drawing, writing, sculpture, sound, and video. She is drawn to the space between what we know about the world, and what we sense about it. Right now she is curious about mouths, the second person pronoun, what it means for a body to be both material and event, and about materiality at the points where we exchange with the world around us. She received her BA in Fine Print from NCAD, Dublin in 2016, and is currently studying for her MA in HKU, Utrecht. Cara has completed residencies in the RHA School, Dublin; Haihatus, Finland, Cow House Studios, Wexford and Arts Letters & Numbers, New York. In 2018, Cara curated a one-day exhibition, Gathering on Dollymount Strand and produced Emma Brennan’s performance work Heed, to the Mound for Dublin Fringe Festival. Recent Exhibitions include PLATFORM 2019 curated by Sharon Murphy, Draíocht Blanchardstown; Third Thursday curated by Jennifer Park, Arts Letters & Numbers, NY, Some Concrete Possibilities curated by Síobhan Mooney, The Library Project and The Museum of Mythological Waterbeasts, Ormston House, Limerick. This is her first Solo Exhibition.

Basic Space is an independent art organisation with a programme of residencies, exhibitions and educational events in collaboration with practitioners and art institutions throughout Ireland.

Róisín Bohan is an independent curator, Co-Director of Basic Space, and currently holds the joint position of Learning and Public Engagement Curator at RHA Gallery and Temple Bar Gallery & Studios. She completed her MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at UCD, and holds a B.A in Fine Art from CIT Crawford College of Art & Design. Roisin has previously held the position of Friends Coordinator at RHA Gallery, Administrator with Dublin Gallery Weekend and Assistant Curator at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Recent curatorial projects include a solo show by Bren Smyth in Pallas Projects/Studios, July 2018, a group show at The Library Project, January 2018, and a series of seven performance events at TBG+S between 2016 and 2017.

Jennifer Moore is an artist based in Dublin. Her practice engages with relationships between sensing bodies and their environments. She is interested in the collective and personal exploration of the unknown and the mystical, particularly within the urban, industrial landscape. Sound, writing and collaboration are the main formats through which she experiments and builds work. She has completed artist residencies in Sirius Arts Centre in Cork (2019) and Aras Eanna Arts Centre on Inis Oirr Island (2018). Outside of her practice she produces music and works as a DJ internationally in the area of left-field electronic music. She also works in the area of youth/arts education, focusing on creative technology practices. Building community and accessibility are important to her in all areas of her work.

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Date And Time

10-01-2020 @ 10:00 to
07-02-2020 @ 17:00

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