Lavish and Judicious is a group exhibition including video, painting, sound installation and textile works. It takes as its starting point Sion Mills, a ‘model village’ and linen mill, located 20 miles south of Derry. Established by the Herdman family in 1835, Sion Mills was one of a number of communities built in Britain and Ireland by philanthropic industrialists in the early 19th century that both housed factory workers and their families, and provided amenities for their comfort and moral advancement. The title refers to Samuel and Anna Hall’s travelogue from 1845 – Ireland: Its Scenery, Character, etc. – in which the Halls praise the efforts of the Herdmans for the interest they take in the educational progress of their workpeople, and the way they “distribut(e) motives to improvement, lavishly and judiciously.”
Lavish and Judicious considers this mix of planning, social engineering, capitalism and utopianism through a new commission by Aideen Doran and works from Jaana Kokko, Jennifer Trouton and Caroline Achaintre. Works in the exhibition elaborate on ideas of landscape, urban planning and colonialism; gendered histories of work and turning points in material production.
Lavish and Judicious takes place alongside the Linen Biennale, 2018.