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Samuel Laurence Cunnane

Born 1989, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Samuel Laurence Cunnane is an Irish photographer who has described himself as a ‘documentarian’, and whose works are the result of a considered and thoughtful process of active observation. Influenced by cinema, he records quiet and easily overlooked moments of daily life, both at home and on his frequent travels.

His subjects are deceptively ordinary and often the setting is layered or partially obscured. In this way, he reframes the familiar into something tinged with a sense of oblique melancholy. 1

Samuel Laurence Cunnane works with analogue photography, capturing places, people and plants with a detached “floating eye” perspective. Whether in Guangzhou, Tehran, the Balkans, or his native Kerry, Cunnane is drawn to the unnoticed periphery: the outskirts of the city, where plants battle with concrete; the edges of housing developments, where newly built homes surround mounts of upturned earth; the frontier between interior and exterior, demarcated by fences, windows, topiary. His photographs deromanticise the popularly sentimental, with landscapes interrupted by utilitarian infrastructure, and yet their sensitivity to light, framing and texture give them a cinematic quality. Responding to the increasingly dematerialised nature of contemporary image making, Cunnane remains connected to the physicality of the production process, printing his photographs by hand in a darkroom. The resulting C-type prints are relatively small in size, resonating with the restrained, intimate nature of the work. Samuel Laurence Cunnane lives and works in Berlin and Kerry. 2

Bio & Career

The Irish/ French artist Samuel Laurence Cunnane’s new work deals in large part with the idea of the outskirt, what Brian Dillon refers to as “messy peripheries, the obscure edges of distinct places, sidelong glances instead of vivid or picturesque vistas”.

The work for the most part has been made in the west of Ireland where Cunnane has used the backdrop of pebbledash, incessant damp, exotic invasive species and an ominous tone of an environmental threat to depict a world where the empty spaces on the fringes are overlooked, abandoned and increasingly contested. This idea of the outskirt is not just meant in the physical sense, such as the outskirt of a town or city, the outskirt of an economic or administrative zone but also the outskirt of our vision and consciousness. Cunnane’s photographs deal with what is on the periphery of our vision, the blind spot towards our surroundings and disconnect with the environment, and the existential unease that arises from such a blind spot.

Many of the works use cinematic techniques, be it framing, lighting or even particular ratios as a way of exploring this idea of the ‘landscape’ as pre-existing imagery in our minds inherited and projected upon the exterior world. Cunnane’s work uses analogue photographic techniques, printed by the artist. Cunnane remains highly connected to the physicality of the production process; in no small part influenced by the increasingly dematerialised nature of contemporary image making and dissemination.

Samuel Laurence Cunnane has been the subject of exhibitions at Kerlin Gallery (2020); OCT Boxes Museum of Art, Shunde, China (2018), Öktem&Aykut, Istanbul (2017); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2016) and THEODORE: Art, New York (2015). Recent group exhibitions and projects include National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (2019) and Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda (2018). Cunnane’s work can be found in the collections of OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde, China; The TIA Collection, Sante Fe, USA; the National Gallery of Ireland; the Arts Council of Ireland; the Trinity College Art Collection, Dublin. A publication with a text by Brian Dillon, Professor of Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London, was published in 2020 3


Appears in

  • 2020, Samuel Laurence Cunnane, Kerlin Gallery [e-book]
  • 2018, OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde, China
  • 2016, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; texts by Michael Hill, Rachel McIntyre


Solo exhibitions

  • 2021, One eye looking at you one eye looking for you, Öktem&Aykut, Istanbul
  • 2020, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2018, OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde, China
  • 2017, New Works, Öktem&Aykut, Istanbul
  • 2016, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2015, THEODORE: Art, New York, NY, USA
  • 2015, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Group exhibitions

  • 2019, Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2018, An Act of Hospitality Can Only be Poetic, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland
  • 2014, Fortnightly Features Presents, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2012, Portfolio, Les Recontres d’Arles, Arles, France
  • 2011, Listen, Block T, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2010, I Like Boring Things, Centre for Creative Practices, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2009, The Invisible City, The Joinery, Dublin, Ireland

External links & References

  1. “Samuel Laurence Cunnane ” Douglas Hyde Gallery
  2. “Samuel Laurence Cunnane ” Kerlin Gallery;tab-1:slideshow
  3. “Samuel Laurence Cunnane ” Kerlin Gallery