Michael Fortune 

Single and multi-channel video works 

9 February to 2 April 2011

Michael Fortune borrows from the popular conventions of home video and snap photography, and in many ways his work can be seen as growing out of a tradition of social documentary and anthropological film. In much of his video work the camera remains static, Fortune does not attach a commentary or analysis to the images, but instead allows them to be presented as primary source material.

Fortune’s work is primarily made in and about the specific rural community in the South East of Ireland where he was born, grew up and still lives. His enduring area of inquiry is the domestic landscape and the activities, superstitions and beliefs of those who inhabit it. Both humour and a sense of intimacy surface in the work as Fortune records stories and customs as told and enacted by local people, including his own family. In the multi-channel work We Invented Halloween, the annual Fortune Family custom of visiting grandmother’s house disguised as a ghoul is dispassionately documented over five years, subtly revealing both a sense of the absurd and the enduring strength of the family unit.

The commonplace can be made obscure though Fortune’s lens, which focuses on human invention, ingenuity and idiosyncratic behaviour. Unpacking the weekly shop for a multi-generational family with numerous pets becomes a study in controlled chaos and fervent activity in Hunter Gatherer. In another work, the impact of the smoking ban on the bingo-goers social evening has been circumvented by their collective decision to play the game from their cars, with the assistance of loudspeakers.

For his exhibition at Peer, Fortune will exhibit a selection of ten single and multi-channel video works, which have been produced over the last five years. This will be the first time that these works have been shown together outside of Ireland and is the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK to date.


Michael Fortune was born in County Wexford, Ireland, in 1975. His work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally in galleries, off-site presentations and as single-screen presentations in film and video art festivals. He has been the recipient of many awards and commissions including the Spirit of Darklight Award at the 2009 Darklight Festival in Dublin and as joint first-prize winner at the Claremorris Open Exhibition in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Recent exhibitions include a solo presentation at the Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden and a touring exhibition of his video work An Anthology of Others to eleven art spaces throughout Ireland.

Chris Fite-Wassilak will discuss the work of Michael Fortune on Saturday 2 April at 4pm

This project has been generously supported by:

Lismore Castle Arts