Brian Duggan | The Last Day Diary Redux
September 4 to October 15
The Last Day Diary Redux expands upon the artist’s larger body of work regarding community, citizenship, and resistance. His new installation is the latest in a series of works exploring a set of events from the Johnson County War, Wyoming 1892. Duggan’s new work is an examination of crisis and chaos, hope and despair and a poetic acknowledgment of the inevitable. The installation, The Last Day Diary Redux is inspired by a specific historical relic, namely a letter written by Nathan D. Champion. Falsely accused by a wealthy member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association of being a cattle thief, Champion was murdered by a band of hit men. While his cabin was under siege, Champion wrote this letter, a Diary, a poignant testament of a person in crisis and his last hours.
This new project includes contemporary recordings from Kaycee, Wyoming, made by the artist in 2013, during his visit to the site where the original ambush took place 133 years ago. The film The last Day Diary will also be re-imagined in the gallery with a new site specific installation re-imagining the staging of this event as seen in Michael Cimino’s original 1980 epic Western film Heaven’s Gate.
Included also are discussions with composer and actor David Mansfield and actor John Hurt, who both worked with Duggan on the film The Last Day Diary. Duggan’s invitation to Hurt and Mansfield to contribute to the production of The Last Day Diary, echoes their significant roles Heaven’s Gate. Duggan aims to highlight issues within the current wider societal backdrop of remembrance and commemoration and to question how the written word, cinematic history and historical events are interpreted today.
This new gallery installation The Last Day Diary Redux re-examines both elements from the history of these events, and also its cinematic staging and retelling. It is a powerful but contemplative work which draws parallels to contemporary issues of immigration and power, and the situations and pressures between those with food, cattle and land, and those without.
Supported by The Arts council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Culture Ireland