One World | Cian Duggan

This new series of paintings draw images from history, art, stock photo databases, and the seemingly infinite visual rabbit hole of the internet. These are digitally layered with cut-out elements of previous public interventions that have since disappeared—the work explores our culture of image authorship, information exchange, and on/offline presence.

The collages depict feverous visions of imaginary spaces that reappropriate the forms of my public paintings within new perimeters. Printed on plexiglass sheets, these modified images are overlaid by enamel paintings that act to ground the work in our reality. With this action, painting is seen as both a controlled act and as one with a constantly shifting presence, in a state of renewal and reform. The moving of the image into our physical reality shows the painting as a fluid form, pushing out fiction into reality.

One image has reference to the Amber Room, once considered to be the 8th wonder of the world, which disappeared in the midst of WW2. Theories as to its whereabouts, and whether it even still exists, have been put forward over the years, yet the mystery remains unsolved. I aim to reshape the narrative and give way to the possibility that the room exists elsewhere, somewhere on an alternative timeline.

This is also a continuation of the investigation into my philosophy that paintings can appear anywhere in life. Not just fixed on a wall or locked away, but for them to exist without a static location or even dimension.

My work is underpinned with the concept of in-between states and our deep-set desire to escape. That we all in some way dream of leaving for an alternative reality. The merging of imagery in the works points towards the idea of non-linear timelines coexisting and the romanticism of escape to and from them.

I was planning on starting this new series of paintings, but due to economic developments I wasn’t in a position to produce. So I decided to render them as digital concept works. The works deal with ideas of disjointed time and escapism, so I developed them into works that don’t actually exist in reality but as a projection of one. Using my wall paintings at A. Farm as the subject matter, trapping them in their own time and space.

During the lockdown I learned to change my mindset from what isn’t currently possible in the current situation to what is…For the majority of the lockdown I only travelled between my studio and A. Farm. A comforting connection between our ‘worlds’. Individual yet universally connected. Helping each other with our work and exploring ideas we may not have considered before.

Cian Duggan (b. 1990) was born in Ireland and based in Vietnam. Duggan’s practice explores the constructs and relationships between time and space. Blurring the distinctions of change and transition: between life and death, natural and supernatural, artificial and organic, reality and science-fiction.

His work looks at time as a fragmented force, constantly in a state of flux. Segments of parallel worlds, realities and histories leaking into ours, creating their own and existing by themselves. Considered as a whole singular work regenerating itself through time and place, refreshing itself differently again and again, with no beginning or end.

Cian Duggan is a member of the MoT+++ collective