The project was implemented within the artistic residency program and cultural exchange LOCIS between Ireland (the Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton), Poland (Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu, Toruń) and Sweden (Botkyrka Konsthall, Stockholm).
The Phantom and Spectre is a site-specific installation undertaking the subject of sacral buildings meaning transposition and function changing. It refers to the history of St. Clare Hall, erected in the ninetieth century in Manorhamilton (a small Irish town), and its subsequent fate linked to the transformation of this church into a school, a community centre, a boxing club and consequently in an empty, ruined building. As for formal aspect, the installation creates a type of “anti-window of stained glass” – the black facets inscribed in the shape of the original windows with a light band on the edges. These measures are meant to give the impression of the emanation of light from the inside.
In Judeo-Christian tradition the human being – in contraposition to God – is sinful and imperfect, has lost its innocence and was casted away from ‘paradise’. The title “phantom” is regarded as the prosthesis, an attempt to restore a lost tool. Thus understood notion of phantom is juxtaposed with former church i.e. sacred place erstwhile functioning as a place of bonding the corporeal with the spiritual. Whereas “spectre” combines the contradictions, oscillates between materialisation and nonexistence. Although not fully material, it is much more powerful and crippling than the real presence. Phantoms palter over reality of here and now, but spectres are leading to the echo-shapes of the past and not yet shaped future. Phantom is an actual presence of loss (presence without substance). The difference between phantom and spectre is creating some kind of tension – between understanding and opening up for the transcendence of knowledge.
Archival photos of St. Clare’s Hall, from the collection of Manorhamilton Library in Manorhamilton, Leitrim County, Ireland.
Translation: Hanna Piątkiewicz