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The Black Mirror by Seamus Sullivan
The Black Mirror is a series of images by Galway born photographer Seamus Sullivan which reveal a visual archaeology resulting from man’s fraught relationship to his environment.

The exhibition, curated by Dublin based art writer Laura McGovern takes its name from a small tinted mirror used by artists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a frame for drawing sketches of picturesque landscapes. The devices were widely used by tourists and amateur artists at that time, who quickly became the targets of satire.

In The Black Mirror the collaboration between photographer and curator implies a kind of suggestability at work when it comes to ‘the picturesque’. The viewer is primed a priori by tourist literature, artistic representations and other types of visual coding to see ‘The great Outdoors’ as fixed and immutable – somehow closer to a ‘natural’ way of living from which we have strayed and to which we must aspire to return.

There is a suspension of disbelief when it comes to the landscape because people want to see the picturesque.  They don’t want their panorama invaded by the rejectamenta of modern living. They perform a sleight of hand on themselves visually, a misdirection away from things like the burnt out car and the dumped televisions.


Opening: 11am 6 July
Dates: 6  – 10 July
Opening hours:
Wed to Sun 11am-6pm

The Swan Centre
Dublin 6

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This collection of images is about those instances which interrupt this received view of the landscape. The artist has made a conscious decision to use redundant 40 year old analogue technology to make the images. The use of such a camera with all of its limitations (12 shots, no electronics, and a waist-level viewfinder) requires a deliberate and systematic act of looking away from the scene being framed. The camera acts as both rear view mirror and Black Mirror.
Curated by Laura McGovern.

About the Photographer

Seamus Sullivan, from Galway, Ireland, is a graduate of DIT’s photography degree programme. His work can be found in private collections in Ireland, USA, England, Israel and Hong Kong. He lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.


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