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What happens when you fall out of love with Dublin?

These photographs investigate.

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IT’S HEARTBREAK BUT at the same time it’s kind of weird because it’s a city… she’s almost like the girl you can’t talk to.

Dublin is many things to many people: a thriving, bustling, energetic city; an enigma; a home, a refuge, a sanctuary.

To photographer Aidan Kelly and artist DMC, she’s… a lady. A woman who broke their heart.

Stick with us here.

For a new exhibition, called Little White Lies, the two men have teamed up to explore their relationship with Dublin, imagining her as a woman with whom their partnership has gone sour.

It’s certainly a singular way of portraying Ireland’s capital.

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A changing Dublin

“It is a collaboration along the lines of trying to say something about all the different things we are sick and tired of talking about,” says Kelly.

The concept is inspired by Kelly’s changing relationship with the capital:

“At one point after 2000 for me, I was DJing a lot in the city and I just saw the city change, the clubs and the atmosphere in the clubs and the bars just changed. It was almost like we weren’t happy, we were sort of a little bit rude.”

People were really brash and really cheeky, and I thought we’d lost something. We got wrapped up in ourselves a little bit.

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The pieces featured in Little White Lies are bold, with black-and-white photos of parts of the city emblazoned with DMC’s trademark spray-painted slashes, words, and marks.

“They’re different in the sense that they’re not straight photographs,” says Kelly.

His photos of the city are re-worked by DMC, who stencils and draws over them. “I spent a few days with him in studio,” says Kelly. “DMC’s stuff is quite abstract – very fluid.”

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“For him to work directly onto one photograph and not to have the chance to do another take, that was equally scary for him. We stood there in studio and battled it out.”

The collaboration was “very exciting” for Kelly. ”I’m a bit afraid to share my work with somebody else,” he admits.

I don’t have any brothers. When I do end up working with blokes, I end up treating them like brothers.

The two bonded over their sense of humour, and DMC taught Kelly how to use spray paints. The resulting artworks were then framed by Hangtough Framing.

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The project was so inspiring that it will soon become a short film, where a young guy will meet ‘Dublin’ at a coffee table in the middle of O’Connell St. But for now, its first appearance will be at the Library Project in Temple Bar.

“Apart from anything, if nobody see these things we got such a laugh out of it. You want to work with people that get what you’re at. We were lucky. It sort of fit really well – he got what I was trying to do, I got what he was trying to do.”

Kelly and DMC’s exhibition, Little White Lies, runs from 2 – 8 February. The opening night is 5 February.

Read: Photography mentorship to explore community and Ballymun>

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