For her first exhibition at Laura Mars, O’Brien has created a series of analogue photographs and lightboxes characterised by specific forms of response towards both Modernization (technological, economic and political processes) and Modernity (the social conditions and modes of experience that are seen as the effects of these processes).
The title of the exhibition ‘Contemporary Amnesia’ refers to the predicament of a simultaneous process of construction and disintegration. As the previous way of life is forgotten, memory traces of an abandoned set of futures and the ideologies of advancement are sliding into the past before they could build a future. This is a travelogue through a distressed landscape, evidence of the irreversible process of entropy.
Elsewhere abandonment and alienation, fragile enclosures and solitary structures appear timeless. They suggest a nexus where people gather and silently embody a language we can sense but no longer comprehend. Something of substance once inhabited this space, something weighty once stood or hung in that place, but now it has gone and the substance can only be guessed at. Whatever lives here is only intermittently human.