Laura Tynan – 40ft NIGHTMARE!


Cracked Reflections Blue_tilesVernissage 29 January, 18 – 21.

30 January – 8 February, 2015.

Open daily 14 – 18.

Closed Monday 2 February.

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instagram // @laurastynan

Indeed, terror is in all cases whatsoever, either more openly or latently, the ruling principle of the sublime. (Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful).

40ft NIGHTMARE! is an exhibition focusing on the artist’s response to the experience of learning to swim as an adult.

Working from direct observations and photographs she has developed a series of drawings which illustrate the journey from terror to delight. Looking at the shapes, colours, reflections and distortions seen in swimming pools these elements have been combined to create images that express the beautiful and sublime.

The work in the upper gallery celebrates the light, colourful beauty of swimming pools, expressing the joy of overcoming one’s fears, while the lower gallery explores the dark feeling of terror experienced when moving outside of your comfort zone. This is expressed by darker colours, implied vertiginous heights and the disturbing feeling that something threatening is lurking under the surface.

The title 40ft NIGHTMARE! was inspired by a passage in Anthony Cronin’s biography of Samuel Beckett, in which he describes Beckett’s persistent nightmare about the Forty Foot, a famous outdoor swimming spot in Dublin, Ireland.

‘As soon as Sam [Beckett] could reasonably be expected to learn to swim…[his father] began to take him there with his brother. The diving board was about ten feet above the water (which is in fact twenty – four feet in depth) and when Sam was still quite small his father placed him on it and ordered him to jump. For the rest of his life Sam was to be visited by a recurring nightmare in which he was expected to dive into a small and distant pool which was often ringed around with dangerous, jagged rocks…

You stand at the tip of a high board. High above the sea. In it your father’s upturned face. He calls you to jump. He calls, Be a brave boy. Many eyes upon you. From the water and from the bathing place…

Watt, in the novel of that name, is likewise subject to an uneasy sleep, ‘lacerated by dreams’ in which he has to dive ‘from dreadful heights into rocky waters, before a numerous public’. (pp 16 – 17).

Cronin, A., 1996. Samuel Beckett, The Last Modernist. 2nd ed. (London, Flamingo).