Stephen Brandes | ‘Bed & Breakfast’ | 2005 | Marker and acrylic on vinyl | 201 x 282cm
Over the past few months has, for many of us, seen the boundaries between home and work become intangible. Artists have always documented what is immediate to them, the places they live and work as well as those of others. In this showcase we are looking back through the Arts Council collection and sharing works made over the past 50 years that explore where we live and where we work.
Here, Stephen Brandes, whose work is showcased under the ‘Where we live, where we work’ theme, tells us more about the featured artwork and what it means to have his artwork as part of the Arts Council collection. Explore this and more from the Arts Council collection at https://www.instagram.com/artscouncilireland/
Fifteen years have now passed since Bed and Breakfast was made. At the time it seemed that economically, the country was riding the crest of a wave. It was drunk and hedonistic. It would be disingenuous to suggest that my response would be a prediction of what was to follow. Firstly the economic crash that happened three years later, and now COVID-19’s effect on virtually all of our lives, but these moments give the work further poignance.
Bed and Breakfast depicts a cultural institution, common to both Ireland and the U.K.,that offered a place to stay, either out of choice or necessity, with its varying degrees of warmth and hospitality. Here it’s been drawn out of context and subjected to all manner of cruelties; vandalized and humiliated but not without some (albeit, dark and absurd) humour.
This work did not aim to be predictive. Rather it suggests that from our own moment in time, the building could represent any one of us. Or, if the future can take an infinite number of possible directions, this may be one that we hope to avoid.
Since 1962, the Arts Council has been buying art from working artists. The Collection that evolved tells the story of modern and contemporary Irish visual art in a unique and fascinating way. Today the Collection continues to grow and its more than 1,100 paintings, sculptures and other works are on display in public spaces all over Ireland for people to experience and enjoy first hand. You can find out more at: www.artscouncil.emuseum.com