Fiona Curran Beach Fatigue – Exhibition review

Waiting for th

Waiting for the Perfect View

Originally published on The Upcoming on 15th October 2013

What happens when the very urban connotations of dystopia come to an island paradise, or the apocalypse packs its bags and goes on holiday? Fiona Curran’s latest exhibition offers a distorted, slightly left-field postcard of what this might look like. It’s an eerie place that seemingly goes at an infinitesimally slow pace. Beach Fatigue instils a sort semi-stupor on its audience encouraging you to shuffle around its miss-matched mishmash of found carpets, geometric scrawlings and seemingly endless supply of palm trees like the brain-dead zombies of so many post-apocalyptic horror films.

Pale Horizon is an installation piece that entices you to sit on its weathered rugs and small stools and gaze upon the pastiche gleaming landscape of a desert island, as the sea shimmers on an infinite feedback loop. It raises some interesting questions about time; would time even exist as a concept if there were no humans around left to experience it? Beach Fatigue certainly seems to suggest that time would play by different rules come the end of the world.

The exhibition is dotted with worn out carpets that have been crassly repaired, overlaid and otherwise added to. Their subtle hues and intricate geometric designs are clumsily blemished with garish luminous threads with childlike naivety. The rugs have been robbed of their chance to decay gracefully but for what purpose remains unclear. Perhaps the awkward stitching is merely meant to represent the whittling away of time by the last remaining survivors as they await the inevitable, inexorable coming in of the tide.

Waiting for the perfect View encapsulates the entire exhibition in a single piece. Rolled up carpets this time provide pillars atop which small toy palm trees sit precariously. A larger plastic palm tree, its leaves made up of ostrich feathers stands adjacent, framing a large black and white vista. The photograph depicts and aerial image of palm trees, perhaps just waiting to be napalmed; you can almost hear the strains Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from that iconic scene of Apocalypse Now. The bleached white of the palm trees, usually so vibrant and colourful, also invokes that terrible all consuming white which engulfs everything in its path when an atomic bomb is detonated.

Curran’s depiction of a rotten idyll is perhaps also a nod to John Milton’s infamous epic poem Paradise Lost which tells the story of holy war between heaven and hell, the birth of humanity and Adam and Eve’s fall from grace. Interesting that Beach Fatigue offers a nod to a literary depiction of the birth of humanity whilst simultaneously depicted its ultimate demise. It’s a quite poetic juxtaposition of the beginning and end.


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