Uchronia. Not as It Was But as It Might Have Been

Uchronia refers to a hypothetical or fictional time-period of our world, in contrast to altogether fictional lands or worlds. A concept similar to alternate history but different in the manner that uchronic times are not easily defined, sometimes reminiscent of a constructed world. The concept of Merry England is an example of uchronic myth. It refers to a poorly defined point after medieval England, mainly existing as a collective memory and nostalgia of a better past, although historically such a period never existed.

The word is a neologism from the word utopia (Greek u-topos, meaning “no-place”), replacing topos with chronos (time). It was coined by Charles Renouvier as the title of his 1876 novel, Uchronia, an Apocryphal Sketch of the Development of European Civilization Not as It Was But as It Might Have Been, from which, Stephen Dunne has titled this new body of work.

Dunne’s practice operates across the registers of painting, drawing, moving image and the investigation of speculative and theoretical fictions. Currently, his work stems from a playful approach at image making, beginning with inkblots and random chaotic marks made on paper which are subsequently manipulated into suggestions of various forms. Works are produced in a spontaneous manner and attempt to draw upon the unconscious as a source material.

Constellations of drawings are placed on the wall in response to both the space itself and to each other. The process of making, where each thing leads to the next through an experimental and intuitive approach is at the core of Dunne’s work. The subsequent work acts as a trigger for fragments of shared memory brought to the surface via a type of riffing on imagery, both familiar and drawn from narratives prevalent in popular culture.

Public Event

6 March, 5.30pm: Ashford in Conversation, Stephen Dunne with James Merrigan.
Artist Bio

Based in Dublin, Dunne graduated with an MA in Fine Art painting at the Royal College of Art. Recent exhibitions include As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics & Wilder Beings Command both at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Solo shows: Luminous at NAG; Poached Eyes on Ghost & Corpse of Milk, Fumbally Exchange; Subliminal Anarchy, Pallas Projects and a series of exhibitions at Rise in Berlin The Phantom Limb; Schizo Epiphanies and Der Zauberlehrling (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice). Toot Tootsie Goodbye at V1 Copenhagen, group shows at Domobaal London, GSK Contemporary at the Royal Academy in London and The Big Four at Channel Four. Stephen was also included in Pilot 3 which was exhibited as part of the Venice Biennale in 2007.

Forthcoming solo presentations include, Triskel Arts in Cork, April 2019 and The Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon, May 2019.


Dates: Friday 16 and Saturday 17 November 2018
Times: Friday 5.50-9pm & Saturday 9.30am-6pm
Tickets: €33 | Student: €26.52 (inlcuding booking fee). Book Tickets HERE.

Tickets for this exciting, 2-day, cross site seminar includes two drinks receptions & tea/coffee on Saturday morning.
Download the full schedule of events.

Are you curious about art and artists? Have you ever wondered why do artists make art? In what ways do artists work today? Is the art world today so different to the Renaissance period? Have you ever wanted to visit an artist in their studio?

This exciting two-day event will answer the above questions and more, looking at both an international and national context with an exciting keynote from US based writer and cultural sociologist, Dr Sarah Thornton author of; Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts. With panel discussions, walking tours and studio visits with a range of Ireland’s leading artists, The Lives of Artists will celebrate the many ways that artists work, across art forms and career stages, while taking in a range of cultural sites across the city.

This engaging, cross-site seminar is a novel collaboration between Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (TBG+S) and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). The title for the seminar is taken from Giorgio Vasari’s tome The Lives of the Artists, which was one of the first art historical books that brought together a reflection on artists from one period in time, that of the Renaissance, albeit a personal and biased one. The seminar will give a snapshot of the international and Irish art scene, connecting directly with the artists of today.

This seminar is open to all and gives a unique opportunity to meet with artists and art commentators in a relaxed environment. The weekend will comprise of a keynote address, a meet and greet drinks reception and performance on Friday evening, two compelling panel discussions on the Saturday morning and a menu of artist studio visits, walking tours, gallery visits and intimate talks on Saturday afternoon, with a lively closing reception, not to be missed!

Behind the Scenes, Studio Visits, Walking Tours, Gallery Visits, and Intimate Talks

During Saturday afternoon there will be a menu of activities for people to choose from taking place at the RHA, TBG+S and across the city. This will include studio visits in both venues, smaller intimate talks (including exhibition introductions, discussions on the techniques of art and two intimate performances), and two walking tours discovering other cultural spaces. Saturday will conclude with a closing reception at TBG+S.

Contributors include: Bassam Al Sabbah (artist), Robert Armstrong (artist), Ciaran Benson (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCD), Ella Bertilsson & Ulla Juske (artist), Ruth Carroll (RHA, Exhibitions Curator), Philip Cottrell (UCD Art History), Vivienne Dick (artist), Stephen Dunne (artist), Isadora Epstein (artist), Lisa Freeman (artist), Arran Henderson of Dublin Decoded (Art Historian), Michael Hill (TBG+S, Exhibitions Curator), Eithne Jordan RHA (artist), Dragana Jurisic (artist), Caoimhe Kilfeather (artist), Colin Martin RHA (artist), Aisling McCoy (artist), Ronan McCrea (artist), Patrick T Murphy (Director, RHA), Isabel Nolan (artist), Alan Phelan (artist), Alison Pilkington (artist,) Tamsin Snow (artist), Sarah Thornton (cultural sociologist and author), Charles Tyrrell (artist), Eimear Walshe (artist).




Featuring an exciting selection of modern masterworks, contemporary art and new commissions, IMMA presents a major international exhibition that looks at the role of spirituality in visual art. In particular, it considers the role played by certain spiritualist and alternative doctrines in creation of abstract painting from its origins to the present digital age.

Transcending the limitations of what is perceived as spiritual, this exhibition embraces the occult, the otherworld, human consciousness, mysticism and ritual, creating a space to reflect and explore these gateways to wonder.

It will breathe and evolve, expanding from the gallery floor to include live events, performances, talks and other interventions.

SELECTED ARTISTS: Hilma af Klint, Kenneth Anger, Anthony Balch, David Beattie, Nora Berman, Annie Besant, Agnieszka Brzezanska, Alan Butler, James Lee Byars, Cameron, Marcus Coates, Ira Cohen, Ithell Colquhoun, Matt Copson, Shezad Dawood, Walter De Maria, Stephan Doitschinoff, Hayden Dunham, Stephen Dunne, Brion Gysin, Susan Hiller, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Koo Jeong A., Wassily Kandinsky, Rachid Koraichi, Emma Kunz, Frantisek Kupka, Paul Laffoley, Liliane Lijn, Henri Michaux, Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky, Pádraic E. Moore (curatorial advisor), Josiah McElheny, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, Sigmar Polke, Patrick Pye, John Russell, Eoghan Ryan, Aura Satz, Austin Osman Spare, Linder Sterling, The Propeller Group, Suzanne Treister, Grace Weir amongst others.


Through our new landmark international group show As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics we are especially pleased to bring to IMMA the work of several 20th century masters including Hilma af Klint, Kandinsky, František Kupka and Sigmar Polke. Also featured are the works of cult artists James Lee Byars, Ira Cohen and Cameron, and some of the most influential artists living and working today, including Steve McQueen and Bruce Nauman among others. Many of whom have never exhibited in Ireland before.

Many of the works in As Above, So Below explore relationships between artists; the power of collectives and the influence artists have on each other’s practice.





Grumbling Fur collaboration.

Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan – better known as neo-psych duo Grumbling Fur – recently released their brand new LP Furfour on Thrill Jockey. As the pair explained at the time the LP was announced, the “songs are about including the process in the finished piece and spontaneous ideas are laid down, and a structure starts to emerge from this source.”

The psychedelic pop pair have now unveiled the video for the record’s new single, ‘Heavy Days.’ It’s a look at what it means to be a furry and was filmed at Fur Island. The clip is a collaborative project between 2006 Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner and Stephen Dunne, as well as the band themselves. It’s based on the concept of a confluence of inter-dimensional realms and the blurring of identities to create a self-destructive reality. Watch below.




Artwork for Ostgut Ton.



Boomkat Product Review:

Ostgut Ton offer a 10th year anniversary family portrait with 30 tracks from their nearest and dearest covering a broad spectrum of house, techno, electro and other styles.

The label should really need little introduction at this point; they’re one of the biggest dance labels in the world, representing the ethos and aesthetic of inarguably the world’s most notorious nightclub.

There’s many to choose from, but our highlights of the pack come from Atom ™ with the serpentine dub techno special, ‘Stromlinien’; Substance with the unreleting pound of ‘Keine Angst’; the label bos Nick Höppner going wild with the drums on ‘Double-Cross’; and the cranky stare-down techno of ‘Beastmode’ by Norman Nodge’.

Dip in, you’ll find your own percies. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Ostgut Ton!

Listen here…






Selk / Beast






Review | Selk – Beast



Just signed up to instagram, here…stephendunnestudio


New studio !


Temple Bar Gallery + Studios announces new Membership Studio Artists 2015/16

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is pleased to announce five new studio artists for the year 2015/16. The new artist members were awarded their studios by a selection panel, following an open submission application process which took place in May 2015.

In total, four Membership Studios for a three-year period were awarded to Lucy McKenna, Miranda Blennerhasset, Stephen Dunne and Alison Pilkington. In addition, a one year extension was awarded to Susan MacWilliam, who began her three year studio membership in 2013. Any three-year member who has not already been awarded a Project Studio in the past 9 years are eligible to apply for a one year extension at the end of their studio tenure.

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is an artist-governed organisation. Three-year Membership Studios give the selected artists full membership status and voting rights at the AGM. TBG+S is pleased to welcome its five new members, who will become full voting members of the company and will contribute greatly to the diversity of Dublin’s city centre artistic community.

This year, the selection panel for studio membership consisted of Rayne Booth, (Programme Curator, TBG+S), Cliodhna Shaffrey (Director, TBG+S), Artist and former TBG+S studio member Niamh O’Malley and artist and current TBG+S studio member Kevin Cosgrove.

TBG+S is pleased to be able to continue the tradition of working with artists at various stages of their artistic development. The quality of work and high level of activity of our new studio members will continue to ensure that TBG+S is the most vibrant and exciting community in which artists can work in Ireland. We are looking forward to supporting this new group of TBG+S studio members to make their work in 2015 to 2018.

To request further information for press contact press@templebargallery.com





“Poached Eyes on Ghost & Corpse of Milk”

New works on paper

Info here..

Fumbally Exchange Dame lane, Dublin, May 28th-June 8th. Private View May 28th, 5.30-8pm

stephen dunne_4





“Luminous” at NAG extended until Tuesday May 5th.


“The Curtain Falls”, ink and acrylic on paper, 8.5 x 11 in, 2015.







“Folk Tales”, ink on paper, 22 x 30 in, 2015

Delighted to say the Office of Public Works have acquired this piece for the State art collection.




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Stephen Dunne – ‘Luminous’

Those as yet unfamiliar with the artistic stylings of Stephen Dunne can expect an eclectic, vibrant and visceral showcase in his new show Luminous. Referencing Thomas Pynchon in the introduction to his newest work, Dunne seeks to highlight the multi-faceted nature of society – the constantly changing constellations, relationships, and truths, ever in flux, never static. Dunne’s technique mirrors this principle, the rapidly sketched works in ink, later built on with paint, sometimes evolving as far as animation, all trying to capture an elusive moment in time. Drawing from a myriad of different sources and inspirations (Dunne himself cites the New Yorker cartoons as one such muse), the exhibit will capture that moment of neuron spark when a story begins in your brain. Expect a daring, sometimes dark, often challenging show. / Alison Treacy

Nag Gallery, Dublin

Private View Thursday April 9th continues until April 28th.

Waiting to be rescued, ink on paper, 11x14 in,Stephen Dunne,2015

“The sizeable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns.”

Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day

As with Pynchon, these drawings present us with multiple slippery histories and paranoid shenanigans depicted in strange collisions between the void and the figurative.
The works on paper are produced with ink in series, often rapidly painted then edited later, the goal is to produce a kind of haiku balance between something spontaneous and something new, a kind of decompressed moment drawn from the vast store of information contained in the subconscious.
Within the horizon of possibility presented by the blank page a process of conjuring with ink brings these characters into the world. Books, films, history, the internet – our brains are crammed full of stories and characters, they float in the unconscious as cultural flotsam and jetsam. Here the artist manipulates this stuff in raw form using an idea of delirious narrativity as a means of production.

Constellations of drawings are placed on the wall in response to both the space itself and to each other. The process of making, where each thing leads to the next through an experimental and intuitive approach is at the core of this work. Drawing from sources as diverse in style as New Yorker cartoons to Abstract Expressionism, psychological dramas and contemporary drawing practice collide.


RCA secret Dubai




Sold ! Thanks to the lovely collector who queued up overnight and got in touch to say how delighted she was. 🙂




R.C.A. secret 2015


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Rise Boutique, Berlin Dec 2014



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Dec 2014,  High Road House, London. Reopened & redesigned, looks stunning, new works by Elizabeth Price, Ryan Gander, Mark Wallinger and emerging artists. Mine’s the big one by the fireplace on the right, in the top image.



The Dinner Party, mixed media, 2014_1



Nov-Dec 2014 ; Image Interiors & Living, Ireland’s best read interiors magazine….

Some works from “Subliminal Anarchy” made their way into the lovely home of Nicholas & Lizzie Gore-Grimes, great feature on their amazing house. Top left next to the fire engine.

The Dinner Party, mixed media, 2014



Pigs might fly…




Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin Artists’ Bookfair update…




A few copies of my artist’s book “The Phantom Limb” will be on display at Temple Bar Gallery from Thursday at the Artist’s Book Fair, only a handful of copies left, pop by and have a look if you’re free.
The book is A4 in size and was hand screen printed in Berlin as a limited edition of 45, signed and numbered, it consist of 28 pages.
€100 each. Images are of a few of the works inside…








Showing this painting at VUE, Ireland’s National Contemporary Art Fair at the R.H.A in Dublin from tonight 30/10/14 till Sunday. Exhibiting with the Cross gallery.

“Just because you’re paranoid”, oil on linen, 2014.

I’ll be there Friday 5pm-8pm. Pop down and say hi if you’re about…




“The Dinner Party” Digital Print / Collage, 2014.



The Laughing Face, 4k digital animation, 2014.


Subliminal Anarchy

New works by Stephen Dunne

Pallas Projects Dublin

20/03/14 — 29/03/14

Info here




Toot Tootsie Goodbye, V1 Copenhagen

behind the crooked cross 2

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Dazed visual art editor Francesca Gavin opens a new show in Copenhagen today. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Jewish musical theatre performer Al Jolsonʼs song ʻToot Toot Tootsie Goodbyeʼ. In 1945, as a response to German propaganda broadcast to allied forces, then soldier Mel Brooks would respond by playing the music hall tune through his makeshift speaker system back at the Germans.

The exhibition aims to draw attention to the rise of the far right in Europe by bringing together artists and work that in some way respond to the recent history of WWII, therefore keeping alive the urgency and encouraging a repetitive state of trauma, such that a new generation cannot become complacent in the face of distanced collective memory. Gavin is urging vigilance and examining the role of cultural production as a destabilising device.

One of the artists present in the exhibition, Stephen Dunne, creates works which tap into this unconscious, bringing form to uncomfortable ideas half remembered through hazy shapes and put down on paper. As Gavin suggests, “Dunne is a really interesting painter whose work I really felt could connect to the more emotional, atmospheric undercurrent in the exhibition. All the works he made for Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye are new – they are largely abstract and monochrome but with elements of the figurative and touches of red coming through. Looking at them in life, they seem to hum and resonate and make you feel uncomfortable. I felt they were a really fitting way to talk about some of the ideas in the exhibition and a very good foil to the comedy of Neal Fox and Dionisis Kavilleratos or an echo the disturbing nature of the Chapmans”

Here, the artist explains how he grappled with the challenging prospect of the exhibition:

Dazed Digital: What are you presenting in Toot Toot Toostie, Goodbye?

Stephen Dunne: A number of paintings I’ve been working on in Dublin specifically for the show. “Behind the Crooked Cross”, “Faceless Nameless, Breathless” and “Fearface”. The first resembles a mutant cross with insidious elements, the second attempts to crystallise a sense of dread and the third is a conjuring of something both horrible and absurd.

DD: What is it about the unconscious and darkness of our fears and desires?

Stephen Dunne: Well I guess if the unconscious is a factory we must ask what it produces, generally that means monsters both real and imagined. Somewhere dark and sticky to tap into, a car crash of influence. I think painting in particular can access this in interesting ways, the compressed nature of time in a painting can somehow trap albeit fleetingly weird hybrid subjectivities.

DD: What specifically informs your work?

Stephen Dunne: Over time it becomes harder to differentiate, some things you metabolise on an intuitive level, others need a more concentrated shaping process. Specifically while making these paintings I’ve been reading, Curzio Malaparte’s Kaputt, Louis Ferdinand Celine and as I’m a bit of a Pynchon obsessive re-reading Gravity’s Rainbow. Watching an inordinate amount of late night T.V documentaries on the Nazis helped too.

DD: What of your work fitted within the context of the exhibition?

Stephen Dunne: Hopefully each of the works engage with it on some level, the sense of dread, the becoming Swastika piece most overtly and the ridiculousness of all three on some level. Ideally the works oscillate between the silliness of the title and an underlying sense of unease. I guess an attempt at reclaiming and recoding is being proposed which through a minor subversion is a form of resistance. The best example? The Great Dictator, Chaplin as Hynkel. Parody at it’s finest.

DD: Is it important to keep the memory of Nazism and atrocities present so that we can continue to feel trauma rather than comprehension, and therefore remain vigilant?

Stephen Dunne: We cannot assume to understand the full scale or traumatic reality of historical events. These notions are well beyond the scope of a small exhibition, if anything the works aim to engage as a vital reminder that humour and subversion are tools to create awareness and discussion. The failure of sense and rational thought is an underlying theme.

DD: Is the rise of the far right something you’re paying attention to?

Stephen Dunne: In the last few years we’ve seen a swing to the right generally across Europe, look at he recent developments in the U.K with UKIP and the EDL, in Greece with the Golden Dawn, repressive laws in Russia. It’s not so much a rise of the right as this stuff never really goes away.

DD: What is the role of art and representation in such politically turgid discourses?

Stephen Dunne: Fascism was the aestheticisation of politics, through aesthetics that space can be recontextualized and deterritorialised. My response in the show is more an abstracted sense of fear and loathing but with an element of humour. A kick in the eye.




Domobaal London “Phantom Limb” sighting…










As time permits I’ll add some older stuff, images and text etc…watch this space…


Dazed & Confused

Happiness Machines

The group exhibition ‘Happiness Machines’ takes its name from an episode of the BBC TV series ‘The Century of the Self’ made by Adam Curtis; ‘this series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy’. Curtis plots the lesser-known story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Europe and the United States that links individual freedom with consumerism. It tells how the all-consuming self was created, by whom and in whose interests.

Happiness Machines profiles Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays whose legacies and ideas still shape the way we live our lives today. Bernays utilized his uncle’s theories to manipulate the general public. Freud claimed to have discovered instinctive yet dangerous primitive sexual and aggressive forces hidden inside the minds of all human beings. Bernays believed that the masses could be controlled and satiated with consumer products and an aspiration lifestyle.



a group exhibition

opening: Friday, 26th March 2010 from 19.00 – 22.00h at RISE Berlin

featuring work by:

Alexander Heaton, Christina Mitrentse, Christophe Chemin, Eileen Cooper, Eddie Nuttall, Guillaume Airiaud & Philippe Comtesse, Hector De Gregorio, João Leonardo, Jonas Ranson, Jan Kiefer, Jon John, Jenus Kahmke, Laurel Johannesson, Lee Wagstaff, Liz Neal, Master Patrick, Matthew Brindle, Richard Sawdon Smith, Stephen Dunne, Tomi Paasonen, Vanda Playford, Xavier Stentz

opening times: Friday to Sunday 13.00 – 19.00 or by appointment

exhibition runs until 25th April 2010



Sophisticated Boom Boom review…..

Sophisticated Boom Boom (in b&w)


Until 15/5


This group exhibition, as Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s filmic dissolution of place, context and matter in the stairwell suggests, is as inkily elusive in concept as in form. In the most simple sense, perhaps, it describes a sensory breach of expectation. Grey, the mid-ground or the norm, becomes a transmutable substance pulled between the polar ends of the tonal spectrum; tuned in and out of pictorial focus by the presence of colour (the key placement in the upstairs galleries of Lizi Sanchez’s Koonsian evocation of sculpture, a box-frame done up like a dog’s dinner on a plinth and Lothar Götz’s ode to abstract-painterly and retro-domestic spaces on canvas). The “boom, boom” of the fabulous Shangri-Las song at its core varies in potency, work-to-work: from the thud of an assumption hitting the decks (when you realise that the toolbox debris in the stationary compartments of a desk draw have been hand-carved by Mhairi Vari out of granite) to the distant foghorn call of a memory just before it arrives in the mind (such as Jeffrey T Y Lee’s white-wax and black-ink deptictions of Borneo and Sharon Kivland’s re-framed images of locomotive smoke), and the shoeshuffle into the surreal as Stephen Dunne’s watercolour man in mono prepares to hammer-whack the space where his head should be.



Auf Deutsch


In Case We Don’t Die





The Guardian

Watercolours don’t have to be frumpy

It doesn’t all have to be about pretty pseudo-impressionistic landscapes.

Some artists are doing amazing, experimental work with watery paint

When did it all get so frumpy? Watercolours have the worst reputation when it comes to artistic media.

Watercolour Challenge and its viewers fondly imagined as whimsical codgers staking a rickety easel in a windswept British landscape may be to blame. The paints are definitely connected to a sense of history. The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours’ annual exhibition, which opens today, has been going for 196 years. There’s nothing edgy about a medium that was popular when Tennyson was in fashion. Perhaps there’s something a bit dated in the paint itself. The gentle washes of colours can seem a bit dish-watery compared to the virile, crumbling texture of oil or acrylic. Watercolours and conceptual installations are arguably two very different extremes.

But it would be wrong to throw the baby out with the (paint-tinted) bathwater. Painting itself has had a huge resurgence over the past decade. There are some artists that are doing amazing work with watercolours. The progressive East End space Ancient and Modern recently put on a show of large painted portraits by Daniel Silver based on a found image of an Armenian bearded monk. The colours were odd, vibrant and strangely contrasted, capturing some sense of character that other paints would have made too blunt. The dark genius of painter Stephen Dunne adds watercolour alongside splashes of ink and acrylics in his representations of dark internal fantasies. There’s nothing frumpy about his imagery of bogeymen, floating eyes and gothic nightmares.

In both these cases watercolour has added to the conceptual background to the work. Somehow it deepens a sense of discomfort. Something not quite present and dreamlike. In a way the fact the medium has been so ignored is allowing artists to experiment more with their approach. It doesn’t have to be about pretty pseudo-impressionistic landscapes. Perhaps its time for young students to grab their brushes and claim the watery paint for their own.






The Dinner Party, mixed media, 2014

The Dinner Party, mixed media, 2014_2

The Dinner Party, mixed media, 2014_14597706927_fbccd03cd6_o2244080945_9fe73bf7a6_zDSC_0293DSC_0233 copyDSC_0091