Romping through Trieste
Three words immediately follow the famous yes I said yes I will Yes ending to Ulysses. They are Trieste-Zurich-Paris. These were the cities that Joyce lived in when he was writing Ulysses over several years.
Joyce’s time in Trieste played an important part in his development as an artist. It was to Trieste that Joyce and Nora Barnacle eloped after leaving Ireland in 1904. It was in Trieste that their two children Giorgio and Lucia were born. Trieste was where Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Giacomo Joyce, his only play Exiles, and where he began writing Ulysses.
The Italian Job
Imagine my delight when a couple of months ago Fulvio from Trieste walked into Sweny’s Chemist where I sometimes volunteer. Having seen the At it Again! Illustrations on display, he invited us to join a Dublin Trieste exhibition celebrating James Joyce and his work. The exhibition would be held in both cities at the same time. Well we said yes we would yes straightaway. So that’s how some At it Again! Illustrations ended up in the Miti Caffè in Trieste.
What’s the Story
While our works, along with several other Irish artists, are in Trieste, the works of photographer Erika Cei, paper artist Annalisa Metus, fine print artist Ian Sedmak and painter Ugo Pierri are showing at the Icon factory in Dublin’s Temple Bar. This is the first of the Cities of Joyce exhibitions to be held. The aim of these exhibitions is to forge links between the four cities that were significant to James Joyce as a writer. Dublin, Trieste, Paris, Zurich.
Meet the Italian Artists
Erika Cei’s wonderfully evocative black and white photographs celebrate Joyce in her home city. The photograph above shows the actual train carriage that Joyce and Nora journeyed in to Trieste. The photo below reflects Joyce’s involvement with Trieste businessmen to bring the first cinema to Dublin. All that now remains of The Volta Cinematograph is a plaque on a wall outside Penneys clothes shop in Mary Street.
Ugo Pierri’s enigmatic work is an original take on Joyce. Almost like a set of absurdist tarot cards, these precise but delicately formed and vivid watercolours, they show Joyce in surreal and sensual incarnations.
Annalisa Metus’s delightful narrative piece hangs from the ceiling. This accordion-folded paper cut, hand-drawn illustration was inspired by James Joyce’s short-story The Cat and The Devil.
Jan Sedmak applied a strong graphic treatment to three extracts from Ulysses. The work below reminds us of when Leopold Bloom feeds the seagulls by the river Liffey. As fans of bold graphic shapes and colours, we enjoyed his playful approach.
About The Icon Factory
Imagine a gallery that invites artists, young or old, Irish, or from afar, to exhibit their artwork for free. A gallery that provides training for artists, promotes their work and creates opportunities for cultural exchanges. Pretty amazing you’d think.
Well the Icon Factory is such a place.
The Icon Factory asks artists to donate an original artwork depicting an icon from Irish culture in exchange for a solo exhibition in the gallery. In the heart of Temple Bar they have created The Icon Walk. Take a stroll along it and discover Irish icons from all walks of life. You’ll find James Joyce and Oscar Wilde hanging out with Samuel Beckett and G B Shaw.
The TRIESTE DUBLIN / DUBLIN TRIESTE exhibition at The Icon Factory, 3 Aston Place, Dublin runs daily until 6th July 2016.
This blog post was written by James, a nervous wire of kinetic and creative energy. Prone to caffeine and sugar highs, this book-loving ideas man should not be fed after 7pm.