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of de Blacam and Meagher was Ireland’s exhibition at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, held during autumn 2010 in Venice.
The exhibition addressed de Blacam and Meagher Architects’ built and unbuilt portfolio of the last 33 years and saught to communicate the cultural landscape of Ireland through their seminal work.
A Culture Ireland initiative in partnership with the Arts Council of Ireland, the exhibition was commissioned by the Irish Architecture Foundation under the directorship of Nathalie Weadick.
The exhibition concept took the form of a book unbound, containing volumes of drawing and photographic reproductions from the archives, contemporary photography and readings of the work with commentaries. The commentaries came from a cross-generational collective, who shared an encounter with the architecture of de Blacam and Meagher. Their commentaries offered a contemporary and critical view of the practice and its positioning in the wider context of Irish architecture.
Nine thousand volumes were presented as paper stacks on oak joinery in the eighteenth century oratory of the Irish monk St.Gall near Piazza San Marco. The installation within the oratory acted as both archive and reading room. The public were invited to read the work and take it away as a folio. Over time the stacks were depleted by the actions of the public, until finally we were left only with the furnishings. The archive was in essence consumed.
of de Blacam and Meagher was curated by Tom dePaor, Peter Maybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan. The exhibition had two speeds; one was the immediate visual impact created by imposing paper stacks, scaled to physically and theatrically occupy the space; the second a deep and enveloping engagement of an archive, encouraging the act of reading and observation, research and questioning.
of de Blacam and Meagher was presented in the oratory of Chiesa di San Gallo, Campo San Gallo, San Marco 1103, Venezia frin 29 August to 21 November 2010. The exhibition subsequently toured to Dublin City Municipal Gallery the Hugh Lane (March/April 2011), the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (April/May 2011), Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (September/October 2011) and Limerick City Gallery (November/December 2011). Thousands of visitors saw the exhibition in each of these venues, while also engaging in events, lectures, sketching tours and a Curating Architecture Sympsosium on 25 March 2011.
Image by Alice Clancy