The Permanent Void at Elastic Gallery

What is this? This?

This is a collaboration between a woman and a woman and a woman

It's just a giant wave

Fabrication of memory

An imagery of pain

The togetherness of the different

--Nadine Byrne


Three people’s fate and life are intertwined and processed in Nadine Byrne’s art practice: her mother, older sister and the artist herself.

In The Permanent Void, her second solo exhibition at Elastic Gallery, Byrne presents works like Monument (2018). A sculpture with its’ cracked ceramic glazed surface and raw metal bars creates a hardened contrast to the soft fabric and images of faces that get dissolved as one moves around in the space and then recreated, like a memory of a person who no longer is there.

The piece Point, Breaking (Great Pain) (2018) should be seen as a dialogue with earlier works in the series Point, Breaking, which were exhibited in Nadine Byrne’s first solo show at the gallery in 2015. Images and notes recycled and through time are given new meaning and value. The hand and the care for the materials make us reflect and standing in front of the work, it can be read as a smaller version of a banner at a rally.

The glass objects with the black and white inlaid photographs in the series History Is What Hurts (2018) depicts the skin of a body with markings. The body is at the same time chained to these marked memories, illustrated by ropes and knots. The expression doesn't come across as forced, instead it radiates a form of processing of time gone by. The photos are combined with lines and surfaces in the glass, like the ones seen earlier in Byrne's embroidered series Recurring Interiors (the memory of interiors from the apartment shared with the mother and sister). But also seen in Echoes, where Byrne reworks pieces and sketches made by her mother prior to her birth.

In the embroidery (Tulegatan 21), from the new series Sites Of Memory (2018) the front of the building where the family lived is in focus. The building alternately emerges and fades away, much as memories do. Byrne's delicate touch for the use of reduction creates a space for reflection and is consistent throughout the exhibition. It’s seen clearly in the drawing 3 Women, (2018) where three figures are experienced as one body.

The glass and bronze sculpture Possessed by Abandon (2017) consists of hair from the mother and the artist, exposed between sheets of glass, which in turn is hold in place by cast bronze holders, engraved with mystic symbols. It stands in a 90 degree angle straight out from the wall like a signpost.

The poem above is one of three that together form a soundtrack to the exhibition. The titles give us clues to the whole: Atlas, Nothing Is Opposite To Forever, and I Think About Abstraction.