From Map and Book to Commentary and Image: Connemara and Elsewhere

Tim Robinson’s writing is itself a new trace which overlays the landscape, interpreting its minutest features, speaking of its people who have left their imprint upon it, and of how today we may relate to this unique region. His perceptions alter our ways of seeing these places and give rise, in turn, to new meditations and new commentaries.

The most recent of these is both about and by Tim Robinson. Connemara and Elsewhere (Royal Irish Academy, 2014) offers reflections in text and image on Tim’s work, through John Elder’s introduction, ‘Unfolding the map,’ and Nicolas Fève’s photographic essay, ‘Browsing Tim Robinson’s Connemara’. It includes three essays by Tim Robinson, showing us a change in direction, a move into an Elsewhere of memory and new experience: Burren, Aran, Connemara give way to Mold, London, Paris and other places, with their particular intricacies and stories bound together by the act of one man writing.

The images in this exhibition are taken from Nicolas Fève’s essay. In the book they are placed beside, or lie under, extracts from Tim Robinson’s Connemara trilogy, constituting a visual exploration of places and ideas found there. Although many of those shown here are removed from that textual context, the interplay between the two modes of expression, verbal and graphic, is significant: the aim is ‘to juxtapose text and image in such a way to heighten readers’ awareness of what Time calls “geophany” – the visible manifestation of the earth. These photographs do not aim to illustrate specific places, but rather to reflect the hallmarks of Tim approach.’

Among the themes which emerge most strongly in the photographs selected here are the conjunctions of map, word and image to develop a language of place; the minute exploration of ‘our frontage on the natural world’ many-patterned diversity; and the traces of human presences and absences, past and present, which shape what we see in Connemara.