Graduated from University of Ulster
Selected by Gail Prentice
It is strange to suddenly realise what you thought was your life is actually someone else’s fabrication, 2012
Sara O'Gorman is primarily a lens-based artist who works with bought and found slides, to curate, crop and reconfigure pre-existing representations. The work for her MA Fine Art exhibition, titled It is strange to suddenly realise what you thought was your life is actually someone else’s fabrication, took the form of an installation situated within its own unlit room.
On entering the space you were confronted by five identical tables and chairs. On top of each table sat an illuminated 35mm slide sorter, each containing no more than ten slides. The slides each had a cinematic quality and appeared carefully organised into small groups or spread out across the guide lines of the sorter. Each slide appeared to be an element of a family photograph.
I found myself as a viewer being drawn into sitting down at each desk, and diligently taking time to explore, to contemplate and search for meaning, as if I had been allowed to access imagery that would normally be locked away, captivated by the opportunity to piece together the fragments, search for connections, attempt to grasp a narrative and in turn construct multiple other narratives.
O'Gorman had created each slide by photographing details from projections of second-hand bought and found slides which she sourced mostly through eBay. O'Gorman, it turns out, has amassed a large collection of these slides which she now draws upon as source material in the creation of her work. Employing her collection as a starting point, she edits and manipulates the original image through a process of cropping, abstracting the image further from its original representation and relationship to meaning. It is this process of reconstructing and reinventing meaning that offers an insight into her ways of seeing.
The interesting juxtapositions of imagery that O'Gorman creates are reminiscent of the 'cut-up' technique employed by the early Dadaists and later rediscovered in the 1950s by the artist Brion Gysin, who began deliberately cutting up newspaper articles into sections, which he then randomly rearranged. The book Minutes to Go resulted from his initial cut-up experimentation with unedited and unchanged cut-ups, which then emerged as coherent and meaningful prose.
Like Gysin, O'Gorman re-writes a story, engineering a new memory which challenges the viewer to question the presented image as a reliable source of information. The viewer is not privy to any information about these images and is forced to apply a constructed meaning in order to make sense of someone else’s history.
Through O'Gorman’s thought-provoking work the relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled; instead it continually challenges the viewer to re-imagine and re-write a new version of the story.
(Gail Prentice, 2012)
Sara O'Gorman is an artist based in Belfast. She completed an MA Fine Art in 2012 at the University of Ulster, Belfast, where she also gained a BA Fine and Applied Art. She will be exhibiting in the project space of the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (Sep 2012) and has had exhibitions at EVA International Open Call: After The Future (curated by Annie Fletcher), EVERYONETHING, Platform Arts, Belfast, Art Rebels, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, a solo exhibition, Bold Articles at Queen Street Studios, Belfast. She was Co-Director at Catalyst Arts, Belfast from 2007 – 2009. She received Individual Artist Support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2008.
Qualifications and training
- 2012 Masters in Fine Art (with Distinction), University of Ulster, Belfast
- 2007 BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Art (with 1st Class Honours), University of Ulster, Belfast
- 1995 BTEC National Diploma in Art & Design, Cumbria College of Art & Design
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