Overview
Stephen Brandes’ practice explores both word and visual language as vehicles for storytelling, with particular reference to travel fiction and European traditions of absurdism and satire.
 
For several years he embarked on a series of very large, highly detailed drawings on floor vinyl, which charted a perpetually expanding fictional universe – the genesis of which was a journey through contemporary Eastern and central Europe, following a route his grandmother had made in 1913, escaping pogroms in Romania.
 
More recently, he commenced a body of work which not only includes drawing and painting, but monumental posters, signage, collage, printed publications and animated slideshows.
 
The underlying theme of this work considers the legacies of European history, by viewing human endeavor within the landscape and the constructed world from oblique cultural and historical perspectives. It is fueled by an interest in how visual and pictorial languages from the recent past have been adopted within particular social movements, from the avant-gardes and totalitarian aesthetics of the early 20th century to the graphic sensibilities of more recent years. These are often put into conflict with the subject matter: the landscapes, the monuments and architecture that have evolved throughout Europe over the past 400 years.
 
His re-engagement with this material is not out of nostalgia, but rather for the purpose of misappropriation, in order to reinvest fresh meaning to these subjects. The challenge is to create objects and images that present alternative views to commonly accepted standards of beauty and authority. It also attempts to consider our shared histories and future with a measured mixture of poignancy and humour.
 

Stephen Brandes was born in Wolverhampton, UK in 1966 and now lives and works in Cork after moving to Ireland in 1993. He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale 2005 as part of ‘Ireland at Venice’, and has shown in numerous exhibitions both in Ireland and internationally.

 

Brandes has also worked on several curatorial projects, most notably Superbia, commissioned by Breaking Ground in Ballymun, Dublin, 2003 and "Beasts of England , Beasts of Ireland" at Visual, Carlow, 2013.  With artists Mick O’Shea and Irene Murphy, he formed the absurdist culinary performance group, the Domestic Godless.

Works
  • Stephen Brandes, West Lothian Bings, 2018
    Stephen Brandes
    West Lothian Bings, 2018
    Acrylic on Linen
    35 x 46 cm
    13 3/4 x 18 1/8 in
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Ex Termite, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Ex Termite, 2020
    Inkjet Print on paper
    42 x 59.4 cm
    16 1/2 x 23 3/8 in
    Signed and numbered by the Artist on reverse
    Edition of 50 plus 4 artist's proofs
    Stephen Brandes, Ex Termite, 2020
    £ 90.00
  • Stephen Brandes, Festival of Pests, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Festival of Pests, 2020
    Inkjet Print on paper
    42 x 59.4 cm
    16 1/2 x 23 3/8 in
    Signed and numbered by the Artist on reverse
    Edition of 50
    Stephen Brandes, Festival of Pests, 2020
    £ 90.00
  • Stephen Brandes, Another Failed Exorcism, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Another Failed Exorcism, 2020
    Inkjet on paper
    42 x 59.4 cm
    Signed, dated and numbered by the Artist on reverse
    Edition of 50 plus 4 artist's proofs
    Stephen Brandes, Another Failed Exorcism, 2020
    £ 90.00
  • Stephen Brandes, Grandchild of '68, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Grandchild of '68, 2020
    Inkjet on paper
    42 x 59.4 cm
    Signed, dated and numbered by the Artist on reverse
    Edition of 50 plus 4 artist's proofs
    Stephen Brandes, Grandchild of '68, 2020
    £ 90.00
  • Stephen Brandes, Golf Brothel, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Golf Brothel, 2020
    Inkjet print on paper
    42 x 59.4 cm
    16 1/2 x 23 3/8 in
    Signed and numbered by the Artist on reverse
    Edition of 50 plus 4 artist's proofs
    Stephen Brandes, Golf Brothel, 2020
    £ 90.00
  • Stephen Brandes, His & Hers, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    His & Hers, 2020
    Inkjet on paper
    42 x 59.4 cm
    Signed, dated and numbered by the Artist on reverse
    Edition of 50 plus 4 artist's proofs
    Stephen Brandes, His & Hers, 2020
    £ 90.00
  • Stephen Brandes, Heron, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Heron, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    41 x 30`cm
  • Stephen Brandes, The Todnauberg Puppet Set, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    The Todnauberg Puppet Set, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    70 x 80 cm
  • Stephen Brandes, (Eww) Piraeus, 2019
    Stephen Brandes
    (Eww) Piraeus, 2019
    Analogue and digital collage printed on vinyl banner, mirror-screws
    145 x 90 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
    Edition of 3
    Stephen Brandes, (Eww) Piraeus, 2019
    £ 750.00
  • Stephen Brandes, (f) Pedeion Athens, 2019
    Stephen Brandes
    (f) Pedeion Athens, 2019
    Analogue and digital collage printed on vinyl banner, mirror-screws
    145 x 90 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
    Edition of 3
    Stephen Brandes, (f) Pedeion Athens, 2019
    £ 750.00
  • Stephen Brandes, St Joan and Ernst Apple, 2019
    Stephen Brandes
    St Joan and Ernst Apple, 2019
    Analogue and digital collage printed on vinyl banner, mirror-screws
    145 x 90 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
    Edition of 3
    Stephen Brandes, St Joan and Ernst Apple, 2019
    £ 750.00
  • Stephen Brandes, April 22nd
    Stephen Brandes
    April 22nd
    Acrylic and marker on vinyl
    193 x 373 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Beer Mat, 2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Beer Mat, 2020
    Acrylic on Linen
    40 x 64 cm
    15 3/4 x 25 1/4 in
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Landscape (after Helena Mandlova), 2018
    Stephen Brandes
    Landscape (after Helena Mandlova), 2018
    collage
    21.8 x 27.8 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Non Sequitur (Blind Red Jay/Composition in Black and Pink), 2019
    Stephen Brandes
    Non Sequitur (Blind Red Jay/Composition in Black and Pink), 2019
    Ink and Gouache on 1940's copybook paper (Diptych)
    27 x 21 cm and 28.5 x 21 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Non-Sequitur (Black Pentagon/One of Us.), 2019
    Stephen Brandes
    Non-Sequitur (Black Pentagon/One of Us.), 2019
    Gouache and collage on 1940's office paper, (Diptych)
    24 x 21.5 and 21 x 29 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Parc du Souvenir, 2016
    Stephen Brandes
    Parc du Souvenir, 2016
    Acrylic and marker on vinyl
    236.5 x 317.5 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Place des Grands Abysses, 2018-2020
    Stephen Brandes
    Place des Grands Abysses, 2018-2020
    Ink, acrylic and permanent marker on vinyl
    212 x 271 cm
    83 1/2 x 106 3/4 in
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
  • Stephen Brandes, Welcome to John Lennon International Airport, 2008
    Stephen Brandes
    Welcome to John Lennon International Airport, 2008
    Acrylic and coloured pencil on canvas
    32.5 x 44 cm
    Signed, titled and dated on reverse
Biography
artist Stephen Brandes moved to Ireland in 1993. He completed an MA at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2002. His work explores the interplay of word and visual language as a vehicle for storytelling, with particular reference to travel fiction, absurdism and satire. Brandes represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale 2005 and has shown in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally. He now lives and works in Cork.

Born:                    1966, Wolverhampton, UK.

 

Education

1984 - 1985       Bournville College of Art, UK

1985 - 1988       B.A., Bath Academy of Art, UK

2000 - 2002       M.A., National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

Solo Exhibitions

 

2020     ‘La Place des Grands Abysses’, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris.

2019     ‘No Soap, Radio’, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin.

‘Café Abyss’, Wathamstow Borough of Culture 2019, London (As the Domestic Godless).

2018     ‘The Food, The Bad & The Ugly’, Galway International Arts Festival, Galway Arts Centre; Uillinn, Skibbereen; Solstice, Navan; Regional Arts Centre, Letterkenny; Callan Workhouse, Kilkenny. (As the Domestic Godless).

2017     ‘Parc du Souvenir’, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin.

              Parc du Souvenir’, Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh.

‘The Food, The Bad & The Ugly’, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. (As the Domestic Godless).

2016     ‘Parc du Souvenir’, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland.

2014     ‘From the Last Travelogue of A. Sitzfleisch.’, Norwich Cathedral,commissioned for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

From the Last Travelogue of A. Sitzfleisch.’, Illuminations Gallery, National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

2013     ‘April 22nd: From the Last Travelogue of A. Sitzfleisch.”, Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin.

2010     ‘The Last Travelogue of Joseph M.’, Millennium Court, Portadown, Northern Ireland.

Tumbleweed’, Rubicon Gallery, Dublin.

2009     ‘The Perpendicular Memoirs of Joseph M.’, Black Mariah, Cork.

A Grand Tour of the Invisible North’, Galerie Robert Drees, Hannover, Germany.

2008     'Walpurgisnacht', Rubicon Gallery, Dublin.

2007     ‘Why Travel? Right Here is Fantastic!’, ‘Rabid A’/Ardbia Gallery, Galway, Ireland.

2006     ‘Klutz Paradiso’, RHA Gallery, Dublin, Ireland. (with catalogue)

‘Chutzparadiso’, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Ireland.

2005     ‘Travelogue’, Rubicon Gallery, Dublin.

2004     ‘Ways of Escape’, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin.

 

 

Selected Group Exhibitions

 

2020     ‘Winter Salon’, Laurent Delaye Gallery, Ramsgate

2019     ‘From the Mountain’, Wexford Arts Centre & Wexford County Hall,

2018     ‘The Expanded Field’, Carthage Hall, Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland. (As The Domestic Godless)

              ‘Café Abyss’, ANTI, Athens Biennale, 2018, Greece. (As The Domestic Godless)

              ‘Gruts Buffet’, Tulca Visual Arts Festival, Galway. (As The Domestic Godless)

2017     ‘This Is Not Architecture’, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda.

              ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’, Hotel Bageion, Athens Biennale, Greece.

(As The Domestic Godless).

2016     ‘Bandits Live Comfortably in the Ruins.’ Flat Time House, London, UK.

2015     ‘Compression’, Ormston House, Limerick. (Curated by Ed Krcma).

              ‘Out There, Thataway!’, Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry-Londonderry, NI.

              ‘Reverse! Pugin.’ Carthage Hall, Lismore Castle, Co Waterford, Ireland.

2014     ‘From Safety to Where?, Kunstvlaai 2014, Amstelpark, Amsterdam.

‘Phoenix Rising: Art and the Civic Imagination’, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin.

2013     ‘Undercover: A Dialect’, Visual, Carlow. (Curated by Michele Horrigan).

‘Prelude Speaker’, Castletown House, Kildare. (As The Domestic Godless)

2012     ‘Last’, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin.

’48-Sheet’ - City-wide Billboard project: Birmingham, U.K.

 ‘The Hellfire Club’: Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Askeaton, Ireland.

New Acquisitions’, National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland, Limerick University.

2011     ‘Stephen Brandes, Andrew Dodds, Sonia Shiels’, Galway Arts Centre, Galway.

Twenty’, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

‘Wake Amusements’, Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, USA.

‘Subplots’, Galerie AllerArt, Bludenz, Austria

‘Cutters’, Gestalten Space, Berlin, Germany.

2010     ‘Utopia/Dystopia’, Catalyst Arts Centre, Belfast, NI.

‘What Happens Next is a Secret’, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (as The Domestic Godless with Mick O’Shea and Irene Murphy).

2009     ‘Into Irish Drawing’, Limerick City Gallery, Limerick, Ireland; Aktuele Kunst Hengelo, The Netherlands; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris.

Gracelands’, Dromahair, Co Leitrim, Ireland.

2008     ‘economicthoughtprojects’, Ardbia Gallery, Berlin, Germany. (exhibition and 7" record launch with Canell/Watkins, Pil & Galia Kollectiv and others)

 ‘Drawings’, AMT Gallery, Milan, Italy.

2007     ‘Girl Power and Boyhood’, Stavanger Kulturhus, Norway.

‘[C]artography – map making as an artform’, Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork.

'Your Position as Much as your Environment', Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo

Art Forum, Berlin (with Rubicon Gallery)

2006     ‘Cross the Line’, Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf, Germany.

‘Girl Power and Boyhood’, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark.

2005     Irish Pavilion, 51st Venice Biennale, Italy

‘live’, InterimProjekte, Frankfurt, Germany (with Nina Canell, Theresa Nanigan, Alex Rose).

 ‘C2’, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork

EuroJet Futures ‘05, RHA Gallery, Dublin

‘On Leaving and Arriving’, g39 contemporary artspace, Cardiff, Wales.

2004     ‘Tir na nOg’, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

‘The Retreat’, City Limits, Melbourne

‘ArtFutures’, Contemporary Art Society, City of London School, London

‘Drawn’, Schick Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York

2003     ‘Necessary Journeys’, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin

‘Permaculture’, Project Art Centre, Dublin

The National Gallery’, Goethe Institute, Dublin

‘Pavilion’, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork

 ‘Artists/Groups’, Project Art Centre, Dublin. (Inc cooking performance as The Domestic Godless with Mick O’Shea)

2002     ‘EuroJet Futures’, R.H.A. Gallery, Dublin

‘N.C.A.D. M.A. Show’, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin

1999     ‘Drawing Thinking’, R.H.A. Gallery, Dublin

1998     ‘EV+A’, Limerick

1997     ‘A Metaphor for Ireland’, Fuller Gallery, Boston University, USA.

1996     ‘Art of the State’ - New work from the collection of the Office of Public Works, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork & tour.

1989     ‘16th John Moore’s Liverpool Exhibition’, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

 

Curatorial Projects

2014     ‘Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland’, Visual, Carlow.

2013     Norfolk & Norwich Arts Festival visual arts programme. (Rhona Byrne, Caroline

McCarthy, Brian Griffiths)

2011     ‘When Flanders Failed’, RHA Gallery, Dublin. (with Matt Packer)

2005     ‘Superbia 2’, Douglas, Cork. For Cork 2005 European City of Culture.

2002     ‘Superbia’, Ballymun, Dublin.

 

Collections

The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Office of Public Works, The Arts Council, AIB Bank, Crawford Gallery Cork,National Self Portrait Collection, Limerick University, Limerick City Gallery.

Exhibitions
Bibliography

A short bibliography

 

Klutz Paradiso

Published by the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin, 2006

Contributors: Sarah Glennie, Barry Schwabsky

Design: Atelier David Smith, Dublin

 ISBN 1-903875-31-5 0

 

The Last Travelogue of Joseph M. Published by Travelogue Art Zine, Berlin, 2010Edition 1:200 Copies ISSN 1873-6863

 

Creative Ireland: The Visual Arts

[Contemporary Visual Art in Ireland 2000 – 2011]

 curated/edited by Noel Kelly & Seán Kissane, 2012

 ISBN: 978-1-907683-11-4

 100 Irish Artists,

100 Colour Plates,

6 Commentaries from respected writers such as: Medb Ruane, Colin Graham, Valerie Connor, Fiona Kearney, Brian Hand and Noel Kelly

 

The Hellfire Club Published by Askeaton Contemporary Arts, 2012 Exhibition catalogue with texts by Michele Horrigan,Padraic E. Moore and Brian O'Doherty. 48 pages, 19 colour images, 32 b/w images. ISBN: 978-0-9558630-5-9

 

Ireland at Venice 2005 Sarah Glennie Published by the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2005Published on the occasion of Ireland at Venice 2005 51st Venice Biennale ISBN: 0-9502440-6-6

 

Dictionary of Living Irish Artists Robert O'Byrne Published by Plurabelle 2012 ISBN: 978-0-9563011-0-9

Video