CAUTION exhibition opening night @ Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 23 August 2012.

Paul Couillard, CAUTION, performance, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 23/08/12

Caution Project Opening @ Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

23rd of August - 6pm-8pm.


CAUTION brought together six artists from around the world to work on a series of solo and collaborative performances, video works, still images and installations that reveal the borders of identity.

Led by Belfast-based artist and curator Sinéad O’Donnell, CAUTION artists Sylvette Babin, Mariel Carranza, Paul Couillard, Poshya Kakl and Shiro Masuyama interrogated what it means to have an ‘invisible’ disability.

During 2011, Sinéad visited each artist and worked with them to produce material that explored their national identity and personal politics. The process was cumulative and each artist built upon ideas generated by previous encounters and journeys with Sinéad, connecting the artists and acting as a catalyst for the progress of the work.

The resulting artwork sought to uncover and expose the invisible layers of identity that are shaped by the cultural codes and eco-systems that we share. In each part of her journey, Sinéad investigated the gaps between these layers and the places that they meet.

In Lima, Sinéad and Mariel met a shaman and went on a journey to explore the relationship between art and spirituality. They travelled high into the mysterious stone monuments of Markawasi and made performances in response to the ancient landscape.

In Canada, Sinéad turned to the corporeal as she and Paul walked topless through the streets of Toronto to investigate the naked body in social space. In Montreal, Sinead and Sylvette found that a simple piece of glass acted as a means of connecting but also defining the borders of two bodies; creating a social relationship that enabled them to navigate familiar and unknown terrain.

In Kurdistan-Iraq, Sinéad and Poshya travelled to the borders, explaining what their life was like to each other and to the women they met on their journey.

Finally, near Fukushima, Sinéad and Shiro donned hazard suits to test the rocks for nuclear radiation. Over several weeks, the artists travelled across Japan in an extended action that responded to the devastation caused by last year’s tsunami.

Through this series of meetings, actions and correspondences taking place across continents, CAUTION navigates between the national and international, the personal and political, the structured and the shattered, to give the artists space to explore their limits artistically, physically and geographically; working with and against the edges of their experience, expectations and abilities.

Caution artists were in conversation in the exhibition about their working processes and methodologies with an integrated audio described Touch Tour of exhibition, which was led by Hugh O’Donnell. Sinéad O’Donnell appeared at various interviews and discussions, during the course of the exhibition.

CAUTION was commissioned for Unlimited, a project celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Unlimited encourages collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organisations, disabled and deaf artists, producers, and mainstream organisations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and to create original and exciting works. Twenty-nine Unlimited Commissions have been awarded.

Unlimited is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

Photographic credit - Jean Claude Cŏtè.


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