Els Dietvorst: Adrift

Saturday 16 March – Saturday 11 May 2024
Els Dietvorst, ACM Lost and Found, 2019, 24mins, colour, sound, digital file | Els Dietvorst: Adrift | Saturday 16 March – Saturday 11 May 2024 | Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre | Image: Els Dietvorst, ACM Lost and Found, 2019, 24mins, colour, sound, digital file | the still shows two people sitting by a staircase at the side of a building; the staircase may be a fire escape; there are heaps of rubbush under the stairs, but also in scattered heaps among plant branches in front of the figures, who are looking towards the right edge of the image, even though their bodies are facing towards the left edge; th ground is muddy; there is some order in the chaos – e.g., clothes on hangers suspended under the stairs, an open umbrella to the right; partial images of trees to the back indicate that it is a cold time of the year, as does the clothing of the two

The opening will take the form of an informal gallery talk between Artist Els Dietvorst and Curators Catherine Bowe and Karla Sanchez Zepeda, followed by Laoise Garvey performing the song This is what you came for. 

Els Dietvorst (b.1964, Belgium) is a socially engaged artist who has lived and worked in Ireland since 2010. Her choice of medium, whether it be actions, documentaries, films, mud sculptures, installations, drawings or theatre texts, depends on the specific circumstances and the individuality of each project. Many of her artworks have therefore been given away or destroyed, or have perished. In 2020, many of these works were remade for the exhibition Dooltocht / A desperate quest to find a base for hope at MHKA (Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp -Belgium).

Wexford Arts Centre working collaboratively with the Highlanes Gallery and Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, and Wexford County Council are touring the work of Els Dietvorst throughout 2023-24. The tour, curated by Catherine Bowe and Karla Sánchez Zepeda, presents a coherent overview of her extensive and multifaceted oeuvre in addition to new works.

Els Dietvorst’s practice is remarkably diverse and comprises drawings, prints, sculptures, installations, films and documentaries, performative actions, and one-act plays. The motivating factor behind this activity is the desire to connect, develop relationships, and collaborate with others. As the artist states ‘For me, creation is a collective process, inclusive and permeable to the world, to the living and the dead, to small neglected objects as well as to each other’s ideas.’ Towards this end, Dietvorst uses dialogue, experiment, intuition, and collaboration as artistic strategies.

Ever since the 1990s, the artist has been moved by social issues such as migration, racism and climate change. Dietvorst reflects on the ‘condition humaine’. As a result, major themes such as life and death, fear, alienation and desire are addressed in her work. The position of the outsider is something Dietvorst specifically focuses on, directing her gaze towards those persons and events that would otherwise go unnoticed. Not so much to point out injustice, but to develop a personal understanding, to keep track of the bigger picture and contextualise different events. Her work is focused on the myriad forms of social communication and interpersonal relationships and conflicts that she expresses in striking social-artistic projects such as ACM LOST AND FOUND, 2019.

Els Dietvorst is a Belgian visual artist and filmmaker based in County Wexford. Her work has been shown and supported by organisations such as the Kaaitheatre, Brussels; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; M HKA Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp; and BAK, Utrecht. As well as internationally in New York, Casablanca, London, and Vienna. She has been awarded international prizes such as the Evens Arts Prize in 2017, and more recently the Belgian Art Prize in 2021 hosted two exhibitions concurrently – This is what you came for in Bozar and CENTRALE for Contemporary Art, both in Brussels.

Image: Els Dietvorst, ACM Lost and Found, 2019, 24mins, colour, sound, digital file
Saturday 16 March – Saturday 11 May 2024
Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre
Skibbereen, Co Cork
Telephone: +353 28 22090
Opening hours / start times:
Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4:30pm
Admission / price: Free

Associated sites
Design: iCulture • Privacy and cookies
day before opening reception
day of opening reception
day before open to public
day open to public
day before closing
day of closing

(e-mail addresses are not retained after the reminder is sent)