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Notebook: Painting

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Institutional Memory - Presentation I

The Virgin Prunes

Find more about my research and inspirations here:
About my presentation "The Virgin Prunes"


In my work I refer often to a recent history of Ireland. It's a primary, basic research so far and it bases on my observations, stories I heard, books, movies and songs. In this project I refer, among others, to a The Virgin Prunes group, its influence in a punk rock scene in Dublin in 70's and 80's. It is an excellent example of creating music and at the same time making an artistic performance about the relations in Irish society dominated by the Catholic doctrine at the time. The idea invented by the members of the group also refers to another problem - an absence of women and children in humans institutional memory for centuries by which I mean most of the duration of modern history. The only testimonies of the presence of women in public life are their male projections contained in literature and visual arts.

About the Group

"The uncompromising social climate of the mid-1970s is often cited as the catalyst that sparked a wave of artistic creativity in anyone who felt that their future was bleak. For a group of teenagers growing up in Dublin, Ireland the prospect of a life in the dole queue led to the creation of their own sanctuary for outsiders, a secretive world that they called the Lypton Village.(...)Developing an aesthetic they had begun to explore during their challenging live outings, Virgin Prunes were both challenging and creatively spontaneous often writing songs, performing them for an audience, abandoning some completely before working the remainder into something new extremely quickly. This helped the group to become prolific in the process. Their highly ambitious “A New Form of Beauty” project saw them tackle the tricky concept of the beauty that can be found in being different (in this case both physically and musically), an idea that had informed the initial formation of The Lypton Village.(...) Their memorable live shows often examined the nature of taste and acceptability via explorations of sex, gender and sexuality but whilst these on stage explosions were just what their audience wanted, creating them meant that offstage the band were threatening to implode."

"Just as Virgin Prunes had incorporated their myriad musical influences into their individual sound, successive generations of musicians and artists have claimed Virgin Prunes as a huge influence on their own work. Its an influence that is readily apparent in the attitude, sound or image of fans like Michael Stipe, Bjork and the Sugarcubes, Billy Corgan, Nine Inch Nails and the dancer Michael Clark to name but a few."

Virgin Prunes, A new Form of Beauty