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This exhibition brings together contemporary artworks that achieve density and compactness of meaning through the use of spare and concentrated means. While much recent art has depended upon high production values and spectacular effects, COMPRESSION explores strategies for the generation of aesthetic and conceptual magnitude via the articulation of more modest artistic materials.

The exhibition presents recent work by nine artists from Ireland the UK made in a range of media: painting, sculpture, photography, digital video, tapestry, collage, and found objects.

While the artworks presented here frequently develop the exacting standards of modernist aesthetics in the visual arts, the term ‘compression’ is more familiar to poetic discourse. Cristanne Miller, writing on Emily Dickinson’s poetry, argues that ‘compression’ denominates ‘[any] language use that reduces the ratio of what is stated to what is implied.’ The implications issuing from the work to be exhibited here prompt the following questions: when visual language is concentrated, reduced to a minimum, what is gained and what extra value is achieved? What are the contemporary stakes of abstraction, both as a mode of art making and as a form of thinking? What is the relationship between digital compression and communicative richness? How do strategies of collage and the readymade relate to other kinds of compression in art? How might such spareness and concentration in visual art help to open up ideas and experience of the everyday world in a particularly powerful way?
Original languageEnglish
TypeCompression Exhibition Catalogue
Media of outputBooklet
PublisherEnclave Books
Number of pages28
Place of PublicationCork
ISBN (Print)978-0-9933232-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Ed Krcma
  • Compression
  • Stephen Brandes
  • Maud Cotter
  • Angela Fulcher
  • Tom Hackney
  • Catherine Harty
  • Caoimhe Kilfeather
  • Susan Morris
  • Trevor Shearer
  • Alison Turnbull

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