Nadine Byrne – The Permanent Void

By on May 22, 2018

Three people’s fate and life are intertwined and processed in Nadine Byrne’s art practice: her mother, older sister and the artist herself.

“What is this? This?
This is a collaboration between a woman and a woman and a woman
It’s just a giant wave
Fabrication of memory
An imagery of pain
The togetherness of the different”
– (Nadine Byrne)

In Permanent Void, her second solo exhibition at Elastic Gallery, Byrne presents works like Monument, 2018. A sculpture with its’ cracked ceramic glazed surface and raw metal bars creates a hardened contrast to the soft fabric and images of faces that get dissolved as one moves around in the space and then recreated, like a memory of a person who no longer is there.

The piece Point, Breaking (Great Pain), 2018 should be seen as a dialogue with earlier works in the series Point, Breaking, which were exhibited in Nadine Byrne’s first solo show at the gallery in 2015. Images and notes recycled and through time are given new meaning and value. The hand and the care for the materials, make us reflect and stand in front of the work, it can be read as a smaller version of a banner at a rally.

The glass objects with the black and white inlaid photographs in the series History Is What Hurts (2018) depicts a skin of a body with markings. But is at the same time chained memories, here illustrated by ropes and knots. The expression doesn’t come across as forced, instead it radiates a form of processing of time gone by. The photos are combined with lines and surfaces in the glass, like the ones seen earlier in Byrne’s embroideries, Recurring Interiors (the memory of interiors from the apartment shared with the mother and sister). But also seen in Echoes, where Byrne reworks pieces and sketches made by the mother prior to her birth.

In the first embroidery in the new series Sites Of Memory (Tulegatan 21), 2018 the front of the building where the family lived in is in focus. The building alternately emerges and fades away, much as memories do. Byrne´s use of reduction creates the reflection that the whole project around the exhibition is based on. It’s seen clearly in the drawing 3 Women, 2018, where three figures are experienced as one body.

In the glass and bronze sculpture Possessed by Abandon, 2017, consists of hair from the mother and the artist, exposed between the sheets of glass, which in turn is hold in place by cast bronze details, it’s stands in a 90 degree angle straight out from the wall like a signpost.

The poem above gives us a clue to the whole. Like a recollection similar to the drawing as the memory of an entity, one body now parted in two, the sister and Byrne herself carry the whole forward.


Nadine Byrne’s (b. 1985) interdisciplinary artistic practice involves media like sound, video, performance, sculpture, drawing and textile works.

She graduated from the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm in 2011. Selected solo shows include Dark Tourism, Galleri Box, Gothenburg SE (2015), Hi Mom, Verket, Stockholm (2014), Stories As An Opposite To Despair, BLOKK, Bergen (2013) and Inward World, Konstnärshuset, Stockholm (2012).

She has participated in a multitude of group exhibitions like (2017) Bland träd gräs och stenar, Bohusläns Museum, Uddevalla, På annan plats, Ystads konstmuseum, Ystad SE Painting or Not, KaviarFactory, Henningsvær NO, Biotop 2017, Biolgiska Museet, Stockholm SE (2016) Secrets in the Carbon Atom, Podium, Oslo NO The First Story Ever Told, Krets, Malmö Sneakyville, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum, Tønsberg NO (2016) Island Adaptation III: Native, g39 Gallery, Cardiff UK I detta ögonblick, Aguélimuseet, Sala The Ritual Box, La Rambleta, Valencia ES (2015) Desorientering vs pluralism, Ronneby Konsthall, Ronneby Biotop, Biologiska Museet, Stockholm SE (2014), SHINE, Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall, Arendal (2013), No Me Pongas Los Cuernos, La casa Encendida, Madrid, Deep into Sweden, Art Center, Novosibirsk, Paganism, Kalmar Konstmuseum, Kalmar (2012) to name a few.

She has also performed internationally with her sound projects The Magic State and Ectoplasm Girls (with her sister Tanya Byrne).

Nadine Byrne – The Permanent Void kan ses på Elastic Gallery från och med torsdag 24 maj.

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