Frank Wasser: On Tenterhooks


Frank Wasser, Research Image (from Studio) 1921/22, screenshot of moving image work (2022)

4–19 Nov 2022
Preview 3 November 2022, 6–8pm

Pallas Projects → Venue Info



Pallas Projects/Studios present On Tenterhooks by AAD Fine Art tutor Frank Wasser – the eighth and final exhibition of Pallas Projects’ 2022 Artist-Initiated Projects programme.

Not far from a place once referred to as a home there is a stone which resembles a gravestone. This stone, upon stone upon fallen stone is protected behind bars on an unusual wedge of land between an assortment of architectures. The stone reads: ‘”The Tenters” – This area is known as the Tenters, because linen cloth was stretched out on tenterhooks to bleach in the sun. When the linen trade failed, the fields were used for market gardening. In 1924 this fine housing scheme was built.’ The Tenters is an area of Dublin situated 300 meters from the project space.

The naming of this land comes from the arrival of the Huguenots in the 16th century who were escaping religious persecution in France from new laws introduced by Louis XIV. The Huguenots brought to Dublin, skills in the production of woollen fabrics.
An interruption. This is a place of text. This. Here. This is a tenter. Is this a tenter?

Tenterhooks were hooked nails in a device called a tenter. Tenters were wooden frames which were used as far back as the 14th century in the process of making and drying woollen cloth. The reader may be familiar with the phrase ‘on tenterhooks’ which today is known as a metaphor for nervous anticipation, a state in which the reader and viewer may find themselves in often. In 1814 a Tenter House was built on the land now known as ‘The Tenters’  so that the drying of wool could take place indoors. The success of this Dublin based industry was a disaster for counterpart woollen industries in England, so the English introduced taxes which drove much of the Liberties industries and trade into generation spanning ‘The Tenters’ area was repurposed as one of the first housing schemes of the free state.

Taking these histories into consideration as a starting point, this exhibition takes the form of an evolving and changing set of digressions, objects and materials which pose as voices that recount, contaminate, fabricate and complicate narratives constructed by the artist deployed through performance, images, sound and text. Meshed fragments of conflated memories, histories and fictions rest in this place temporarily. Wasser renders the place of his childhood home (The Tenters), the place where he learned to speak for the first time as a subject for analysis. The works invite questions within the context of a wider precarity, the conditions of the making of the work, the current housing crisis and an imagined fantasy of the future of the site examined. The work evolved from the artist returning to Dublin to research several sites local to the gallery, including his childhood home now owned by an unrelated private homeowner.

Artist-Initiated Projects at Pallas Projects/Studios is an open-submission, annual gallery programme of eight 3-week exhibitions taking place from March to November 2022. This unique programme of funded, artist-initiated projects selected via open call is highly accessible to artists, with a focus on early career, emerging artists and recent graduates. Projects are supplemented with artists' talks, texts, workshops or performances, and gallery visits.

About the Artist

Frank Wasser is an artist, curator, writer and educator based in London, Dublin and Oxford. His work often takes the form of performance, images, writing and sculptures which question and complicate the parameters of contemporary art practice. He has exhibited, written and lectured nationally and internationally. Recent projects and exhibitions include: ‘Speech Sounds’ at VISUAL Carlow, Ireland, ‘Urgencies’ at CCA Derry/Londonderry, ‘THE CRIT’ University of Oxford, ‘Title, yet to be announced’ at Catalyst Arts (FIX 21), Belfast, ‘Return to Disintegration: Periodic Review 11’ at Pallas Project Space, Dublin, ‘Survey’ at Jerwood, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, The Buecoat and G39 Cardiff, United Kingdom. Recent writing and criticism has been included in and commissioned by Flash Art, Burlington Contemporary, AEMI, Art Monthly, Art Review and the Visual Artists Newsheet. Wasser will release a short book with MA Bibliothèque in early 2023.

Wasser is currently completing a DPhil in Fine Art at the University of Oxford. He is an associate lecturer in Critical Studies and Fine Art Practice at London Metropolitan University. Wasser also regularly runs workshops and lectures at Tate Modern and Tate Britain. Wasser is supported by Arts Council of Ireland. He is the founder of ‘The Virtual Lectures’ which is supported by the Arts council of Ireland Project Award (2022)


Venue Info

4–19 Nov 2022
Pallas Projects
Studios 115–117
The Coombe Center
The Coombe & St. Lukes Avenue
Dublin 8