Michael Mulvihill: A Mid-Century Modern
Michael Mulvihill’s work scrutinises the relationship between grand political narratives and policy, particularly those around the methodologies of maintaining nuclear deterrence, and their effect upon the individual and the everyday. These investigations have been motivated by his childhood memories of the fear of nuclear war during the Reagan era of the Cold War, and the repurposing of Reaganite rhetoric and militarization during the Presidency of George W Bush.
A Mid-Century Modern is the result of the artist’s year-long survey of geopolitical and military landscape of the North Sea Coast, from the remains of Lyoness Naval Base at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isle, RAF Boulmer Air Defence Radar Station in Northumberland, the defensive bunkers and fortification of Dover and Dunkirk in Belgium. The exhibition is an attempt to situate these sites within a global culture of policy spanning from World War II to contemporary concerns regarding terrorism and NATO’s relationship with Russia. This results in a surprising connection with Modernist Art and Architecture by way of a close friendship between architect Le Corbusier and the originator of Mutually Assured Destruction, defence analyst Albert Wohlstetter.
The work in A Mid-Century Modern has been produced during the artists residency with the Paper Studio Northumbria and the Northern Peripheries Research Group at Northumbria University with the generous support of Arts Council England.
Mulvihill is about to commence PhD research entitled Hidden in Plain Site: the hidden nuclear militarism with the School of Fine Art and the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology (GPS) at Newcastle University, where he has also been Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence with GPS. This resulted in the exhibition Standby for the New Stone Age with English Heritage at their York Cold War Bunker. Other recent exhibitions include The Means and the Instruments at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and They use to call it the moon at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and will be taking part in the fourth edition of the Ghetto Biennial in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in December. He is represented by Vane Gallery, Newcastle.
Exhibition supported by: Arts Council England, Berwick Visual Arts, Paper Studio Northumbria and Northern Peripheries Research Group (Northumbria University), School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University through the Leverhulme Trust, South Shields Marine School, Resort Studios (Margate) and is part of drawing? - a programme of exhibitions, events and activities in the North-East of England, celebrating the role of drawing in art and culture and the everyday. www.drawingne.org.uk
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