In 2021, the Goethe-Institut Irland and the Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin collaborated on a programme of film screenings, talks and artworks to commemorate the centenary of the artist Joseph Beuys. Rónán Ó Raghallaigh took part in the programme, presenting a filmed performance, 'Directions of the Cauldron,' in the Hugh Lane Gallery and a live performance, 'Channelling Joseph Beuys,' in the Goethe-Institut Irland.
Directions of the Cauldron, performance by Rónán Ó Raghallaigh, filmed and edited by Mark O'Gorman, 13 min, colour, Ireland 2021
This performance, filmed at the oak tree on the grounds of IMMA which was planted in 1991 in memory of Beuys, imagines how a druid’s lecture might have sounded or could exist in contemporary times. The result is a ritual speech which incorporates a deer skull in response to Beuys’ artwork “7000 Oaks.” It uses Beuys’ metaphor of Europe as a cauldron as a conceptual framework: the directions of the cauldron all represent different things in relation to the Celtic and affect the reading of “7000 Oaks.” The performative lecture exists in a druidic state of suspended logic which allows for both stability and instability of meaning.
Dr. Francis Halsall in coversation with Rónán Ó Raghallaigh at the Hugh Lane Gallery after the presentation of 'Directions of the Cauldron.'
Channelling Joseph Beuys, live performance by Rónán Ó Raghallaigh, Goethe-Institut Irland
"Channelling Joseph Beuys" is a performative artwork by Rónán Ó Raghallaigh. Taking on the persona of the druid, Ó Raghallaigh has developed a practice which incorporates the idea of the artist as someone who channels ideas or images from the unconscious or the spirit world, in this case from the Celtic Otherworld. This acknowledges the ancient Gaelic tradition of artists or poets regarding art-making as something which requires divine inspiration, as well as the Western Modern tradition of artists seeking alternative methods for working in movements such as Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. In "Channelling Joseph Beuys", Ó Raghallaigh will attempt to enter a druidic trance with the aid of a stag’s skull and a staff, and to channel the spirit of Joseph Beuys. He will then draw the visions or ideas he receives immediately afterwards.
Photographs by Molly Keane.