Paul Murnaghan works with the substance of belief. Each action explores fragmentary points of intersection between the spiritual, scientific and psychological. Content is gathered through a multitude of experiments, projects and utopian quests. The results of these are often of an ethereal nature whilst others develop as moving image, sound, music and installation. Murnaghan’s projects rarely happen without other people and the generosity of exchange. Recent works consider an aesthetic of emphatic certainty and frequently attempt to re-inhabit thinking that has lost contemporary credibility.
Murnaghan's projects often take the form of invitations. In Memorious
(2006), the invitation was an advertisement, in which the artist offered
part of his memory to hold the recollection of another. During the next
year, Auto Da Fe
(2007), was an invitation to believe - as Murnaghan created an artwork,
in the soon-to-be-demolished Pallas Heights Gallery, that no one would
be allowed to see. Sitting between belief, knowledge and faith and drawing
on the generosity of exchange, this latest project, 'A Line Describing
Nothings', continued these themes by asking people to undertake 'a past
life regression', and then to assist in the drawing of artworks based
on the recovered, or discovered 'memories'. Wonderful, and somehow surreal,
these works are not attempts to solve the mysteries and myths of past
lives, collective memory and master narratives, but are instead simply
responses to the information received.
A line describing nothings, May 2008, the LAB, Foley St, Dublin.
Over a 48 hours period, 10 volunteers were hypnotically regressed, with one stipulation. Immediately after the