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Exhibition Ireland at Venice

The Lives of Spaces


This exhibition proceeds from the modest proposition that the designed spaces which architects produce play a crucial role in supporting, shaping and framing our lives. The spaces chosen for inclusion are not precious, pristine places, removed from the ordinary business of life – they are right in the thick of it, providing accommodation for living, for working, for creative production, for institutional support, for education, for leisure, for collective action.

The exhibition’s title, The Lives of Spaces, deliberately invites multiple interpretations, suggesting that, while spaces can contain many lives, they can equally live many lives themselves. A Culture Ireland initiative, in partnership with the Arts Council and the Irish Embassy in Rome, and sponsored by the RIAI, the exhibition was commissioned and curated by Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) and Hugh Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at UCD. Representing Ireland at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at Venice 2008, the exhibition occupied the first floor of the Palazzo Giustinian-Lolin, opposite the Accademia. The scale, character and decoration of these typically Venetian rooms provided a setting that compliments the exhibition’s theme. For more information on the participants and themes of the exhibition, visit The Lives of Spaces website.

Over the course of 2009 and 2010 The Lives of Spaces toured to Farmleigh Gallery in Dublin, Kilkenny Castle, Limerick School of Art and Design, Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast and the RIBA Gallery in London. Its films featured in Belfast Film Festival, the exhibition was accompanied by talks, events and education activities, and it inspired an original theatre piece by Lyric Studio (performed in Ormeau Baths Gallery in March 2010).

In a short radio interview, co-curator Professor Hugh Campbell talks about The Lives of Spaces, commenting upon the projects, the choice of film as a medium and the importance of sound in the experience of space. Listen over on IAF Radio. Download the introductory article to The Lives of Spaces, by Dr Gillian Jein, published in the Irish Arts Review, August 2008.