from The Joy | © Noel Bowler
The Joy | Noel Bowler
April 28th - May 29th 2005
Noel Bowler's The Joy is a quietly powerful exploration of the everyday aspects of the lives of men in Mountjoy Prison.
Whereas traditional black and white documentary photographic practice has tended to emphasise the oppressive, dramatic nature of the prison setting, Bowler's colour images provide a fresh insight into prison life by showing us the ordinariness of the prisoners' existence.
As Fintan O'Toole writes in the 'Irish Arts Review', "Noel Bowler's Mountjoy pictures can be seen as a deliberate disavowal of that tradition. In place of monumental monochrome he uses a crisp, sharp-edged colour that emphasises the drab institutional hues of the interior: the dull white walls of the visiting room, the sludge-like greenish yellow of the cell doors, the murky grey and buff of the long corridors, the mortuary black of the scrub floors. There is nothing epic or anti-heroic about the spaces he sees, just the dull, antiseptic pallor of a place designed for boredom."
In making this work, Bowler has sought at all times to be mindful of the concerns of the individuals portrayed. With permission from the governors, he was granted access to the prison. For over two years he spent time building relationships with the inmates and officers, closely observing and sharing in their daily routines. The resulting images convey the mundane reality of 'doing time'.
About the Artist
Link to televised review as the panel of RTÉ Television's - The View, discusses 'Noel Bowler: The Joy' at The Gallery of Photography, aired on the 26th of April 2005. Click here...
Noel Bowler and the Gallery of Photography wish to thank the staff and inmates of Mountjoy Prison for their generous support and assistance with this project.
The Gallery, Bookshop & Darkrooms are open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am - 6pm Sundays, 1-6pm.
t: +353 1 671 4654