Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
5 - 26 September 2013

A Temple, A Bar, An Excavation and An Elephant Bone


Michael Boran // Sabina Mac Mahon // Alan Phelan // Sarah Pierce

curated by RAYNE BOOTH

In 2013, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios celebrated its 30th anniversary. The organisation was founded in 1983 by Jenny Haughton, who invited a group of artists to claim space within a semi-derelict factory building in Temple Bar, and through the vision and determination of a number of individuals the building was gradually transformed into a purpose-built complex of artists’ work spaces and a gallery/exhibition space. TBG+S has been a site where countless new projects, practices, friendships and careers have been created over the past 30+ years, but at the same time much has been lost. Memories remain in the minds of the artists and administraotrs who have worked and continue to work at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Paper files have been discarded or archived at the National Irish Visual Arts Library. Computer files have been left on old hard drives, never to be recovered.

As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations TBG+S produced a book entitled Generation – 30 Years of Creativity at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. In the process of researching the history of the organisation for the publication many forgotten stories, images, objects and archival materials were gathered together to tell a story of the organisation. The resulting story was selective, and based on the material that could be found. Inevitably, there exist many other stories that were not represented, so while not telling a definitive story, by its publication the book created an official history of sorts for TBG+S.

For the accompanying 30th anniversary exhibition, False Memory Syndrome, four artists were invited to devise alternative histories for Temple Bar Gallery + Studios based on their individual associations with the organisation, their interactions with the gathered research and their experiences of the building and its inhabitants.

Sabina Mac Mahon’s work took the archaeological excavation of 9 Temple Bar in 1993, in preparation for the redevelopment and extension of the original building, as a starting point. The work undertakes a mini-exploration of the nature of collections and archives, and the variety of material that can be found in them - both the strange and the ordinary. Mac Mahon worked as the main researcher on the 30th anniversary publication and has an intimate knowledge of the archival history of TBG+S. Her work for the exhibition describes the often frustrating  nature of the TBG+S Archive as well as looking at the wider relationship between TBG+S and the wider Temple Bar area.