Sean Rafferty

Sean Rafferty

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Ghost Mountain

"Long after the firefly had disappeared, the trail of its light remained inside me, its pale, faint glow hovering on and on in the thick darkness behind my eyelids like a lost soul.
More than once I tried stretching my hand out in the dark. My fingers touched nothing. The faint glow remained, just beyond my grasp.”

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood.

Appearing intermittently in this exhibition as a luminous projected image, Ghost Mountain is in fact the Cooley Mountains, or the tall and rocky hills visible from the garden in front of my late Grandmother’s house in Ireland. Over the course of my life I have looked upon these mountains with some mystery and wonder. Often shrouded in mist and cloud they appear in such myths and legends as Cúchulainn, and were home to criminals and terrorists during the troubles in Northern Ireland, to which they lie immediately south. We were warned away from them by my Grandmother who insisted evil still lurks among them. Like Murakami’s firefly they remain etched onto my visual memory and ghost there, fading over time. Ghost Mountain’s after-image or ‘ghost’ appears in the darkened moments between its projections.

Exhibited with pencil drawings that copy landscapes of Australia as depicted in film, Ghost Mountain is an attempt to understand the significance of imagery from places in the “faint glow” of my memory, where the photographic transferral of experience and the experience of actually ‘being there’ intersect.

Essay by Tessa Zettel here

Ghost Mountain (2009)
Sun-bleached cardboard, video projection, cardboard and timber construction, drawings (acrylic and pencil on cardboard), source material (drawings, notes, photos, diagrams).
Installation view: MOP Projects, Sydney

Images - Top: photograph of Rafferty as a 5 year old (with Slieve Foy in the background). Middle: screen during video projection phase. Bottom: screen between projection phases (sun-bleached cardboard on board, velvet masking).