School Play, Ronan McCrea, Castleknock School Dublin, 2009

“They were just there one Monday morning.”

Defying the usual norms of consultation, artist Ronan McCrea “purposefully did not mediate or discuss…or identify the markings as being anything in particular (particularly as being art)”, when he filled the drab asphalt play yard of a Dublin school with circles and arcs.

“The markings do not signify any game or sporting code, but are used by the children in their own play they invent for themselves everyday. Some circles are very large in diameter and extend into other tarmac areas of the school property such as the car park. Some are so large that in one’s imagination the circumference extends beyond the school property and into the hinterland of the neighborhood.

In some subliminal way the circles are linked in the artist’s mind with the image of childhood, education and ego from Joyce’s bildungsroman, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man:

“Stephen turned to the flyleaf of the geography book and read what had been written there himself, his name and where he was:
        Stephen Dedalus
        Class of Elements
        Clongowes Wood College
        County Kildare
        The World
        The Universe.”

A second part of McCrea’s project was to document the arc-activated schoolyard in use:  he fixed a camera at an elevated position before breaks and relied on the children’s random movements in and out of frame to create the compositions.  The resulting photos reveal the way in which the children’s play both incorporates and defies the lines and volumes traced by the arcs.

[images and text from public art ireland.  See also a discussion of McCrea’s project (be prepared for lots of artspeak) at Art&Research journal.]

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