Limerick, Ireland
Pádraic E. Moore, Music for Chameleons, performance, photo: Miriam O'Connor, courtesy of the artist

Pádraic E. Moore

b. 1982, Ireland

Pádraic E. Moore is a writer, curator, and art historian. Moore’s practice is shaped by the belief that visual art enables alternative modes of interaction in a world increasingly led by technological rationality. His curatorial methodology is meticulous but subjective, and it is informed by an acute awareness of the artist’s individual position. Moore’s research interests focus on the influence of esoteric philosophies on both the literary and visual arts. Recent research, undertaken by Moore, considers how occult organizations, such as the Theosophical Society, offered a vital catalyst for change in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art. Moore’s projects often explore how contemporary culture has embraced aesthetics and ideals informed by such esoteric traditions. Chronicling the work of artists who refer to or follow in this tradition is an integral aspect of his practice.

Music for Chameleons (2016) was a one-off nocturnal event conceived around the conviction that the dance floor can be a zone of experimentation, self-invention, transformation, and communion. An inclusive, interactive happening concerned fundamentally with the politics of pleasure, Music for Chameleons emphasized music’s capacity to restore an individual’s arcane, perhaps even ‘tribal’ instincts. The event – a celebration of the redemptive transgressive potential of disco as a sensibility and social-aesthetic practice – was informed by a 1979 article by Richard Dyer, published in Gay Left titled ‘In Defence of Disco’. According to Dyer, it wasn’t just the sexual or ethnic diversity of disco’s artists and audiences that was important, Dyer believed disco reflected the mechanized and material realities of marginalized and minoritized life under capitalism. Moreover, its sound – produced from electronic components such as synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers – was a liberating agent.

Inasmuch as nightclub dance spaces can serve as rehearsal spaces for modes of being-together that are better, more just, more caring, more fulfilling, or simply less harmful, they are also spaces of utopianism. This is not to claim all nightclubs are fully realized utopias far from it but rather that their dance floors are utopian in spirit: they provide concrete sites for the collective envisioning of a different kind of ‘good life’.

– Richard Dyer, ‘In Defence of Disco,’ 1979

For Dyer, the sonic qualities of disco facilitated emotional release; its rhythm and aural textures were imbued with erotic and emotional extremes that permitted escape from the routines of everyday life. The intention behind the happening is not merely to refer to the aesthetics of subversion, transcendence, and reappropriation but to create a communal atmosphere in which these aesthetics become a temporary reality.

Pádraic E. Moore is a writer, curator, and art historian who currently lives and works in Amsterdam. He received a BA in History of Art and English Literature from University College Dublin in 2004, and was received an MA in Visual Art Practices from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in 2007. In 2010, he completed CuratorLab, the postgraduate programme at Konstfack University, Stockholm. Moore has participated in several residences, including the Curatorial Studio Award at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin (2009/10); Curators Residency Programme at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2011); Israeli Center for Digital Art Research Residency, Holon (2012); and Pilotprojekt Gropiusstadt Residency Programme, Berlin (2007).

Moore’s independent curatorial projects include: The Girl With the Sun in Her Head (2015), Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht; A Modern Panarion (2014), Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, Dublin; The Temple of Psychic Youth (2013), Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; As Above, So Below (2012), 126, Galway; Conclave: Agne Raceviciute (2012), Galleria Collicaligreggi, Catania; Maradona two for four: Cullinan/Richards (2010), The Lab, Dublin; Aion Experiments (2010), Project Arts Centre, Dublin; Sunday Night: Aleana Egan (2009), Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; Whispering Pines: Shana Moulton (2009), Broadcast Gallery, Dublin. His co-curated projects include: Vedere un oggetto, verdure la luce (To see an object, to see the light, 2011), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Guarene/Turin; Nevertheless Faith Is in the Air (2010), Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Invocation of My Demon Brother (2010), Irish Film Institute, Dublin. Moore was assistant curator at Dublin City Gallery for several years and worked on a number of exhibitions, including Disturbance: Willie Doherty (2011); Civil Rights. Richard Hamilton/Rita Donagh (2011); A Terrible Beauty: Francis Bacon (2009); Now’s the Time (2008); and Egg Fight: Yinka Shonibare (2008).

(Text: EVA 2016, Still (the) Barbarians, catalogue)


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