In response to an invitation from Temple Bar Gallery + Studios to present some works in progress or an experimental test piece in our Atrium, Gerard Byrne presents what he calls a ‘circumstance’; a text and a number of Black & White photographs. The text concentrates on his personal history with a specific camera, the Mamiya 7, and infers that the photographs were made with said camera. The text gives a history of the model as well an anecdotal account of how the camera was acquired from fellow artist Joachim Koester, who had successfully used it to make made several substantial bodies of work. Byrne enthusiastically describes the intricacies of the lenses and mechanisms of the ‘7’, and his determination to work with this potentially awkward and inflexible camera.
There is a prestige and professional aspiration to mastering the Mamiya 7, which Byrne declares as an ongoing struggle. Despite his impulse to carry the camera to many interesting destinations (from Basel to Broadstone) over a ten year period, a successful body of work has not been completed with it. A box of negatives has accumulated in the artist’s studio and a selection of these have been printed for the first time and are displayed here. The various sets of circumstances at play here, including the display of written and visual materials, extends to the myriad of contextual situations which has prevented Byrne to realise his own vision for his work with this piece of technology.
To paraphrase the artist, these circumstances are subject to alter any time a photographer presses the shutter button on a camera. There are countless uncontrollable conditions that affect the outcome of a shoot, and this reflects the artistic space between aspiration and result (comparable to the threshold between studios and a gallery). In acknowledgement of incomplete and unfulfilled roles, the shelves on which the text and photographs are displayed are produced entirely from offcuts of the tables used in our Dublin Art Book Fair 2019.