Joseph Noonan-Ganley: Femme Fabrications

May, 2016

Femme Fabrications is an installation made from research on Jean Wilkinson’s 1977 book Flower Fabrications alongside research into the American artist Joseph Cornell’s source materials held in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s archives.


A series of textile works encased in silk lined boxes trace Noonan-Ganley’s step-by-step construction of a rose from organdie. The floral emblem of the white rose (dried), death is preferable to a loss of innocence, becomes a filter, which Noonan-Ganley uses to denominate and consider a number of possible recipients for the rose. Joseph Cornell himself, Joyce Hunter - a Manhattan waitress who courted Cornell, Fanny Cerrito - a Romantic ballerina from the 19th century, Marilyn Monroe and an anonymous acrobat all take their turn as possible recipients. In the case of Cornell, audio recordings, which ruminate on how his sexuality pertain to the criteria of the rose are edited together with home-camcorder video footage of the house that Cornell lived in for most of his life - the house he made the entirety of his artworks within.


Each of the components of the work contain a disappearance of one kind or another: the whole textile flower slips away from completion as it's only ever glimpsed through fragments and partial combinations; Cornell’s impotence and how it kept him from consummating a relationship is detailed in his lovers comments; accounts of Fanny Cerrito physically becoming lighter than air are recalled; Cornell’s stack of newspaper clippings that chronicle the days surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death are remarked upon; photos of an anonymous acrobat frozen in the air as she performs a somersault off a tight-rope suspend her inevitable return to ground. Scenographic recordings of Noonan-Ganley speaking to microphone hosts many of these inter-textual engagements across speakers and videos.

Together the elements of the installation solicit the question: What if Noonan-Ganley doesn’t nominate a recipient?


Will the locus of the work remain fugitive, never to reach a destination, staying on the edge of expiration?

Joseph Noonan-Ganley is an artist who makes work through spending elongated amounts of time with particular archives, such as the writing of the medieval heretics the Cathars or Elizabeth Tolbert’s 1988 study of Finnish Karelian lament songs. His exhibitions take the form of installations that span performance, sculpture, textiles, drawing and music. Recent exhibitions include Café Night, 50 Taaffe, Brooklyn, New York, USA (2016); On Curating Histories, National College of Art & Design, Dublin, IRL (2015); Letters, Kings College London, UK (2015); hmn 3, The Prince Arthur, London, UK (2015); Recording at the North Wall, Recording, North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, UK (2015); Something to be Scared of, Am London, London, UK (2015); In The Line of Beauty, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, IRL (2014).


Noonan-Ganley co-curated Scene 93 Omitted, by Frank Wasser, Xero, Cline and Coma, London, UK (2014), and Shady Dealings With Language: History Arises, Toast, Manchester, UK (2014). He edited Oh wicked flesh! published by the South London Gallery (2013), and Idioglossia, an art writing glossary, published by Hato Press (2012). He undertook an MFA at Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK (2014).