Architecture – I see Earth is produced by the VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow, Ireland, with the Irish Architecture Foundation and spans Tom dePaor’s practice from 1991-2021 through the media of sculpture, objects, film and drawing, painting and writing. A large-scale immersive sculpture forms an epic installation of 2km of 6mm round bar steel. It brings to life a house, a fence, a bridge, a hut, a boat and an island with birds in flight -reconstituted as a 3D drawing – that translates a range of previously exhibited elements from the architect’s practice.
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This linear form highlights architectural drawing as the primary communication and production of the architect. Like a drawing, where the three-dimensional nature of things is shown by cross-hatched lines achieving structural stability and delicate beauty in 6mm wireframes.
Hand-painted in cobalt blue, the 3-dimensional drawing or sculpture hangs from the ceiling of the main gallery, spanning 29m x 16m x 11m high, which corresponds to the proportions of an A4 paper sheet. The sculpture is artificially lit by ‘These islands’, a diptych of films recorded on Achill Island in 2013 and at Ballysadare Quarry in 2017.
dePaor teamed up with his long-term collaborator Peter Maybury on Temperance, a vessel made of mild steel seen on the façade in front of VISUAL, which can be seen on arrival. The word Arethusa is etched into the sculpture’s base, referencing the Greek deity turned into a stream. The letters provide an escape for water collected by the sculpture.
The exhibition will also incorporate excerpts from 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.’
In addition to the central sculptural installation, the exhibition will host a documentary by Peter Maybury who has gathered and conserved notebooks, drawings, photos and films of the practice for over 30 years. This film complements the exhibition and includes content never seen before.
All photos by Ros Kavanagh – Courtesy of VISUAL Carlow.