Future Greats 2024: Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan Ryan, A Sod State (still), 2021–22, 4k/UHD video, 22 min. Courtesy the artist

Selected by Mire Lee

Eoghan Ryan makes works about things that break his heart. And, in turn, his art makes my heart swell. Aesthetically it evokes extremes: speed, intensity and ecstasy. But it is not only about the run; it is also about the fall and everything that comes after the fall. Eoghan engages moving image, installation, performance, puppetry, drawing, text and collage to think about emergence and provisionality: how shifting states of being and new possibilities might arise from the smallest as much as the most bombastic of gestures. All of his works are infused with attachment and solidarity with the marginalised, the unspeakable and the left-behind.

Circle A, 2023, performance documentation. Photo: Alessandro Sala. Courtesy the artist and Centrale Fies, Dro

His video A Sod State (2021–22) flips quickly between news footage, interviews and newspaper clippings on The Troubles in Northern Ireland, interspersed with songs and the musings of a puppet of a boy who is wearing a pig mask. “Whatever side you’re on,” he taunts, “you only know half the story.” It gives the political struggle a sense of mythic tragedy, an act that is cyclically repeated, with a script provided by religions and governments, as well as pop culture. Eoghan is currently working on a solo show for the Edith-Russ-Haus in Oldenburg, Germany, to be titled Against the Day, with a body of work that has arisen out of anarchy: as in, what does anarchy mean, and how does it exist today? A previous performance work, Circle A (2023), saw performers improvising stomping in formation around an oversize anarchy symbol on the floor; a new videowork bearing the same title explores anarchy as language and idea, cutting between a fire festival in Spain and recorded interjections from Murray Bookchin, author of Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism (1995).

In the experience of Eoghan’s work, what I love most is a sense of empathy and connection that is so intense that even the artist himself sometimes doesn’t seem to know how to control it. I believe it is this deep closeness, and that which he shares with the things he makes his art with, that gives the work its emotional power.

A Sod State (still), 2021–22, 4k / UHD video, 22 min. Courtesy the artist

Eoghan Ryan is an Irish artist based between Amsterdam and Brussels who works in film and video installation, performance, puppetry and collage. He earned his MFA from Goldsmiths in 2012. In 2023 he was awarded a media art grant by the Foundation of Lower Saxony.

Mire Lee is an artist known for her large kinetic sculptures. She is based between Seoul and Amsterdam

Most recent


We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy.