Darn Thorn


'Unknown Zone #2', installed at Kings ARI, Melbourne, (2008), giclee print on self-adhesive vinyl, 220cm x 470cm

‘Unknown Zone #2’, installed at Kings ARI, Melbourne, (2008), giclee print on self-adhesive vinyl, 220cm x 470cm

Darn Thorn’s work is concerned with the representation of violence and trauma. He is interested in how these issues impact on individuals and societies. Often focusing on the internal effects of violence, he considers how trauma undermines autonomy and damages our perception of self. Irreducible by nature trauma is an anomaly to the mind. For this reason Thorn employs the theme of the Sublime as a representational strategy, finding in its enjoiner to experience the unknown a fitting parallel. Combining the influence of Science Fiction in cinema and television with motifs from early Romanticism, his typically photographic installations portray a landscape that is phenomenal and alien. Taking cue from the Romanticist notion of experiential learning, his works ask the audience to respond intuitively rather than intellectually. He emphasises notions of the illogical by incorporating content in his works that, while visually arresting, lacks narrative contextualisation. Using scale as a means to isolate the viewer within the exhibition space, his large murals usually fill an entire wall. By delaying the ability for the audience to interpret, he invites the audience to experience an aspect of the psychic displacement common to the trauma survivor. Because trauma can engender a profound sense of existential meaninglessness, his work offers the viewer a grand experience that is in part hollow and alienating.

Darn Thorn (1975) was born in Sligo, Ireland and holds a MA in Fine Art from Monash University, Australia. He has lectured and taught Photography in Bristol, Dublin and Melbourne. He has exhibited in Australia, China, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway & the UK. His work has been published in Photofile and The Age (Australia) and included in the book 36 Exp. published by the University of Manchester. He was a studio holder at Spike Island, a Centre for Contemporary Art and Design in Bristol, UK (2010-13). He recently participated in the Bristol Biennial (2012) and EXPOSURE at the FORMAT International Photography Festival, Derby, UK, (2013).


'Unknown Zone #15' (2012), eco-solvent PVC mural, dimensions variable

‘Unknown Zone #15’ (2012), eco-solvent PVC mural, dimensions variable