Studio Yum Yum’s multivalent exhibition On the Pop will be on display from September 15-21 as part of Dublin’s Fringe Festival. John Vaughan sat down with Gearoid, one of the members of the collective, to discuss the exhibition.
John: Could you talk about the genesis of this exhibition? Which came first, the story or the concept?
Gearoid: ‘On the Pop’ came first. We’re a multi-disciplinary studio, and we wanted to highlight that fact by introducing another discipline. We’re very interested in the venn diagram of different forms. So we went with something comical, and theres a certain ambiguity as to what it means. I think it was jokingly said but we kind of stuck with it. So it’s our four responses to the story by Peter McNamara. The story will be performed with accompanying artists on the opening night, and then available to read it throughout the week.
John: Since the title of this exhibition is slang and tongue-in-cheek, was it important for you to keep the humour alive?
Gearoid: This is our first collaboration, so we didn’t get too bogged down in the heaviness. My work deals a lot with anxiety and panic attacks. We wanted to pick a more light-hearted starting point, and to throw the writer a curve-ball too, challenging him to deal with the comedic aspect as well.
“We all saw the importance of connecting to the work personally.”
John: Were there any obstacles in trying to translate a story to a different artform?
Gearoid: Yes. We have two pencil portraits, spoken word, motion sculpture, and a drawing installation, so there’s a lot that has to come together. For me it was difficult. I wasn’t used to working that way; I would usually let circumstantial things filter into my work and then build off of that. When you’re directly responding to something, it’s just inherently different. You have to be careful not to pick things out too directly, like direct symbolism, and you also have to have your own take on it. We all saw the importance of connecting to the work personally. A lot of it deals with personal history and sexual past, and a lot of us responded to the character’s vulnerability.
John: How has it all come together? Did you ever worry that it wouldn’t all click cohesively?
Gearoid: We would very much drive things to completion, and then put them in as is. When I say they’re all open and personal, some are so in a less obvious way, some in a very visceral way. The sexual references are not glorifying in any way. It’ll be an interesting experience, even if it doesn’t fit together cohesively.
John: Is there anything you’d like audiences to take away from this exhibition? Is there any particular feeling you were trying to evoke?
Gearoid: Only to investigate further, and to peel back layers. I never put people in a position where they have to listen to me tell them what the work is about. There is an overall feeling of vulnerability and desperation, but that’s just from my piece.
Where? Fumbally Exchange.
When? September 15-21.