Ella Bertilsson & Ulla Juske—Beyond the Sandy Suburbs is the tenth exhibition of Pallas Projects/Studios' Artist-Initiated Projects programme, supported by The Arts Council.
Beyond the Sandy Suburbs is the final in a trilogy of works produced by Ella Bertilsson (SWE/IE) and Ulla Juske (EST/IE) and based upon research conducted during residencies in Draíocht (Blanchardstown) and the Nordic Artists’ Centre (Norway). The series, which began with 11.9km Northwest of the City Centre (Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn) and continued with Carriers of Memories (Draíocht) has dealt so far with themes of domesticity, paranoia and displacement.
The Sandy Suburbs continues along those lines of thought and begins to invoke power dynamics and the urban environment more directly.
In the exhibition the artists use video installation, construction materials and discarded mattresses. The reality of living in Dublin right now is: crowded apartments and houses, short-term leases, the power of the landlord class, skips and cranes and scaffolding. To live in Dublin is to live precariously and tentatively, facing the sibling situations of housing crisis and building boom.
The trilogy of works has been defined by the use of fictional characters. In this, the third instalment, we meet a different sort of character. Instead of the alienated narratives of the earlier incarnations, we see a non-verbal, animalistic and hyper-human duo and their confusing yet focused actions. Engagement with life is no longer through dreaming or remembering - i.e. through the building of psychic worlds - but instead through direct engagement with the physical world. In the video work comfort is found in a repetitious action - one that seems to make little sense to an outsider, but which has the gravity of ritual to those who perform it. The ritual becomes what is real, all the while treading the line between power and protection.
Press release written by Catherine O’Keeffe
Sound produced by Economusic
Ella Bertilsson (SWE/IRE) and Ulla Juske (EST/IRE) moved, separately, to Dublin during the years of the Celtic Tiger, and ultimately met in 2013, during their time as MFA students in the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Since then the artist-duo (SWE/IRE & EST/IRE) have been using conversation as the generative ground for their multidisciplinary work; sourcing inspiration from films, music, news items, oral histories and interviews; and producing work that uses storytelling, symbolism, staging and sound to produce a mood of absurdity, disquiet and unresolved suspense. This atmosphere is fuelled by the tension in the telling of the narratives, which can indicate something unsaid, be it by verbal feint, communicative noise, distraction or omission. Thematically, the work matches questions of domesticity with questions of memory and personal history, moving to remind the viewer of the associated essences, realities, and dissonances.
On-going exhibition Carrier of Memories, Dráiocht Gallery, Blanchardstown. Recent solo exhibitions include: 11.9 km Northwest of the City Centre (Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn, 2018), The Waiting Room (Artbox, Dublin, 2017), Uncertain Matter (Outvert Art Space & ArtsIceland, Isafjordur, 2017), Uncertain Matter (Deiglan Gallery, Akureyri, 2017), Uncertain Matter (Nordic House, Reykjavik, 2016), Time is what happens when nothing else does (Office of Public Works in association with the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 2015). Recent public events: Museum of an Unknown Person, (Circe Pavilion, Dublin, 2017), Uncertain Matter Audio-walk (Nordic House, Reykjavik, 2017). Residencies include: Peer Residency, Royal Hibernian Academy (2018), Nordic Artist’s Centre, NKD, Dale (2018), Dráiocht Incubate Residency, Dublin (2017), Process Residency Artbox, Dublin (2017), The Association of Icelandic Artists, Reykjavik (2016).
For more information about the artist-duo and their practice, visit: