Emer O’Brien is an installation artist with a background in photography. Her work is primarily concerned with the dark side of Modernity: urban decay, social failure, abandonment and alienation. It refers to a particular relationship to time, one characterized by intense historical discontinuity or rupture, openness to the novelty of the future, and a heightened sensitivity to what is unique about the present.
Started in 2004 ‘Contemporary Amnesia’ is a series of analogue photographs and lightboxes characterised by specific forms of response towards both Modernization (technological, economic and political processes) and Modernity (the social conditions and modes of experience that are seen as the effects of these processes).
The title ‘Contemporary Amnesia’ refers to the predicament of a simultaneous process of construction and disintegration. As the previous way of life is forgotten, memory traces of an abandoned set of futures and the ideologies of advancement are sliding into the past before they could build a future. This is a travelogue through a distressed landscape, evidence of the irreversible process of entropy.
O’Brien studied BA (HONS) at Reading College of Art and Design followed by an MA at Goldsmiths College and then a MRES at The London Consortium. She has exhibited throughout the UK and internationally including: Laura Mars Gallery (Berlin), Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery (London), The Wapping Project (London), The Whitechapel Gallery (London), The Royal Academy (London), Williamson Art Gallery & Museum (Birkenhead), Kunsthal KaDe (Amsterdam), The Dutch Textile Museum (Tilberg), National Gallery (Prague), and Art Platform LA (Los Angeles).