IRREAL being exist
Irreal being exist was developed and exhibited in 2008 as part of a series of ARTLABPROJECTS under the curatorial ship of Robert Mangion. Other artists in the project included Sue Marsh, Maggie Maccathie-Nevile and Jessica Raschke. The Irreal project focuses on the power of the imaginary to will ideas of selfhood into existence and the role it plays in shaping our experience of reality and being.
Through trans disciplinary practice that includes historical narrative structure, digital photography, drawing and objects Mangion investigates aspects of the collective imaginary and its capacity to propagate fictional constructs about self and historic narrative. His work explores aspects of visuality within spectral phenomenon and the way images become detached from their reference as objects.
Drawing on the empiricist writings of English philosopher David Hume for whom there is no ‘self’ to reflect upon when we consider our experience, just a collection of fleeting memories and sensations. Hence, this is why Hume’s thesis is often described as ‘Bundle Theory’. Hume’s scepticism challenges existing claims that we have a prior knowledge of the ‘self’ and goes on to infer there is no enduring ‘self’ only doubt. For Hume, the ‘self’ is seen to be a fiction because we have only our ‘ideas’ formed from our ‘impressions’, to allow us to make sense of our experience of having an ‘identity’ . Jean-Paul Sartre identified different ways that the object of self is bought to consciousness, initially through our senses and then through our imagination filtered through an assortment of past impressions and perceptions. The work Mangion produced for this exhibition focuses on the power of the imaginary to will ideas of self into existence and the role historical narrative plays in shaping our experience of reality and being. The work persistently questions the authority, ambiguity and validity of documentary material, personal testimony and historical narrative. As such his work depends upon withholding explanation, on destabilizing understanding and deferring meaning. More importantly Mangion is preoccupied with more than than the superficial signs of truths “inauthenticity”. His work seeks to recover history as a process existing in the present; it is that process which is at the heart of his reoccurring subject matter.