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‘i see Earth’ presents an ambitious large-scale installation of sculptural work by one of Ireland’s foremost architects, Tom dePaor. The exhibition spans his practice from 1991-2021 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.
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.
Photo by Patrick Bramley, ULAB Studio. / Title image by Tom dePaor. / Aerial video by Greg Mynhardt, Hedgehog Productions. / Installation timelapse video by Patrick Bramley, ULAB Studio.
In 2003, Tom dePaor was elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland and voted Young Architect of the Year in the UK. He has exhibited internationally. In 2000, he was selected to make the inaugural Irish Pavilion at the 7th International Architecture Biennale Venice and subsequently represented Ireland in 2006, in 2008 and in 2010, when he co-curated and designed the exhibition and was invited to present his work in the International Exhibition. Under the title Gall, a collaborative practice with Peter Maybury, he works on exhibitions, sculpture, film and print.
Peter Maybury’s practice-based research sees him operating at the interstices of disciplines. An artist, graphic designer, musician, filmmaker, publisher, writer, editor, curator and educator, Peter has collaborated with Tom dePaor for over 20 years.