‘i see Earth’ Building and Ground 1991-2021 at VISUAL Carlow presents an ambitious large-scale installation of sculptural work by one of Ireland’s foremost architects, Tom dePaor. The exhibition spans dePaor’s practice through the media of sculpture, objects, film and drawing, painting and writing. Curated and commissioned by Nathalie Weadick and including new documentary work by Peter Maybury, ‘i see Earth’ is produced by VISUAL Carlow and the Irish Architecture Foundation. It is open to the public until 22 May 2022.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is an epic installation comprised of 2km of 6mm round bar steel which brings to life the familiar Willow Pattern – a house, a fence, a bridge, a hut, a boat and island with birds in flight – reconstituted as a 3D drawing of some of dePaor’s iconic works previously exhibited at the Venice Biennale and elsewhere. The linear form highlights architectural drawing as the primary communication and production of the architect. Hand painted in cobalt blue, the installation is suspended from the ceiling of the main gallery whose dimensions span 29m x 16m x 11m high. The sculpture is artificially lit and acoustically scored by a diptych of films recorded on Achill Island in 2013 and at Ballysadare Quarry in 2017.
The exhibition also incorporates dePaor’s prose poem ‘previous, next’, which interpolates the radio exchanges between ground control and the first cosmonaut. Hence the exhibition’s title, ‘i see Earth’: Yuri Gagarin’s response when asked what he saw from his spacecraft.
In addition to the main sculptural installation, the exhibition premieres a new documentary film by Peter Maybury, a long-term collaborator of dePaor’s, who has gathered and conserved notebooks, drawings, photos and films of the practice over 30 years. This film complements the main exhibition and includes content never seen before.
‘i see Earth’ creates a highly immersive architectural experience encompassing writing, painting, film and sculpture to reimagine the way architecture is presented. Breaking down conventions and disciplinary boundaries, these interplays allow for multiple interpretations. Beyond a retrospective, ‘i see Earth’ reconfigures Tom dePaor’s work as an imaginative world of possibilities and invites visitors to step inside.
This exhibition is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.
VISUAL is open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 5:30pm. Sunday 2pm to 5pm. Closed Monday.