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David Beattie | Bildender Künstler & Dozent

I can remember many great exhibitions in The Return Gallery over the years but perhaps one standout exhibition that comes to mind is one that for the most part ignored the dedicated gallery space and utilised the entire building and outside grounds. Artist Declan Clarke’s exhibition, ‘Loneliness in West Germany’, brought the viewer around the various rooms and corridors of the building and in doing so not only directed us to the display of his artworks but also to the layers of history and people and culture contained within the walls of the Institut. The richness and depth of the exhibition stayed with me for a long time but it was also the level of support and enthusiasm for the artist to take risks that enthused me the most. There were probably a few raised eyebrows when Clarke proposed he wanted to overturn a car, just outside the back door of the Merrion Square building, but it happened and it was poetic and brutal and made myself as a young artist, take stock of the type of art I aspire to make and the level of support it takes from curators, institutions and others to make it.