Limerick, Ireland
Poster, Jim Farley and the Tophatters, Borderland Dancehall, included in the Tower Museum Collection, Derry. Image courtesy of the artist.

Cliodhna Timoney / Q&A

Cliodhna Timoney is one of six artists working with EVA International as part of the ‘Platform Commissions’ initiative of the 40th EVA International (31 August – 29 October 2023). In this Q&A, the artist briefly introduces the project and her working practice.

EVA: What are some of the key themes or ideas that are explored within your artistic practice?

Cliodhna Timoney: In recent years, our relationship to place, memory and the non-human, is continuously percolating in the back of my mind through which more concrete ideas emerge. I explore these ideas by using specific zones such as dancefloors or the backroads of rural Ireland, where I consider them as stages of sorts with the potential to enact intimacy, escapism, excess or destruction.

EVA: Could you expand upon the materials and methodologies you tend to be drawn towards within your practice?

CT: Throughout periods of research, clearer or more tangible ideas present themselves, which I set about capturing through a line, a colour or a form. My work almost always begins with drawing, which is then fleshed out using various mediums such as imagery, sculpture, video and sound. It often materialises as assemblages and environments that have varying entry points and offshoots. Depending on what I am trying to say or what questions I am trying to propose to the audience, I will use specific mediums and materials to translate that. For instance, a particular sound may work better than a sculptural material to capture rhythm, whereas a certain colour may work better than an image to capture memory; whichever medium relays a sensation best, I will lean into that.

EVA: Could you introduce your upcoming Platform Commissions project that will be presented as part of the 40th EVA International in Autumn 2023? 

CT: With the support of Platform Commissions, I am considering the notion of the dancefloor as a stage for shelter, resistance and escapism, while reflecting on both historical and culturally significant dancefloors of Ireland as spaces of collective imagining. The work will focus primarily on rural and regional contexts, and examine people’s determination to journey in search of kinship. It will unearth our relationship to dance, desire, collective memory and how it contests, connects or interrelates across generations.

EVA: Are there any particular research and development processes or approaches that you generally engage in when preparing for a new commission or for the production of a new work? 

CT: It tends to vary, for example in recent years I have begun to visit sites of interest where I record imagery and audio. I also read fiction, non-fiction and philosophy, and get a lot of food for thought through conversations with family, friends, and other artists. All of this information and research evolves in thoughts, and then becomes embodied in notebooks, which I then explore and manifest materially in the studio. 

EVA: Could you expand upon any research plans that you hope to undertake during the development of this project?

CT: In recent months I have visited the National Folklore Archive, the Donegal County Archives and the Derry City and Strabane Archives, where I have viewed photographs, listened to audio recordings, and read through written documents on material culture.  In the coming months I will continue to visit both local and online archives, and visit places of interest such as The Rainbow Ballroom of Romance in Glenfarne Co. Leitrim.

EVA: Are you working towards any other upcoming projects, residences or exhibitions currently?

CT: I am a resident artist with Fire Station Artists Studios in Dublin, where I have been working on a number of different works simultaneously. One body of work will be exhibited at VISUAL in Carlow in September (2022). Both the research and development has been ongoing since 2020, reflecting on the complexities and conceptual nuances of the farmyard, in particular, aspects of oral tradition, myth and dwelling.

Cliodhna Timoney is an artist who creates theatrical and highly orchestrated environments that investigate various subjects such as place, memory, folklore, rural and vernacular culture, performativity, borders and the nonhuman. Recent exhibitions include TURAS (Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, 2021); Grass Roots (Muine Bheag Arts, Carlow, 2021); The Slade School of Fine Art Degree Showcase (Online, 2020); and The Last Great Album of the Decade (The Lab, Dublin, 2019).

Related Links
Platform Commissions