Siobhán McDonald; The Boglands are Breathing
Sat. 29 Apr. - Sat. 8 July 2023
Opens Sat. 29 Apr.
4pm | Artist-led Gallery Tour
5pm | Drinks Reception
Siobhán McDonald’s solo exhibition, The Boglands are Breathing, presents a new body of work that critically explores the role of boglands as both repositories of our past and guardians of our future. Boglands are mythical places where the most important changes of contemporary times are taking place. The artist, Joseph Beuys described them as “the liveliest elements in the European landscape, not just [for] flora, birds and animals, but as storing places of life, mystery and chemical change, preservers of ancient history.” The Boglands are Breathing responds directly to this thinking to encourage awareness of the cultural, historical, biological and climatic significance of bogs.
In a multifaceted body of work, Siobhán McDonald blends scientific and creative processes to make sculpture, video, works on paper, paintings and sound pieces. Our shared boglands are positioned as the protagonists of an unseen drama, and this work makes visible the collective memory that is held in the rich repository that exists within the thin layer between the soil and the rocks. The exhibition gathers numerous collaborators, bringing together scientists, conservators, musicians, philosophers, perfumers and celestial phenomena, all of whom collectively take part in the evolution of the work.
Amongst the new work that anchors The Boglands are Breathing, is a living sculpture driven by tales of plants and alchemy in Irish folklore. Filtered Time, 2023, is a glass house inspired by the mystery of the Faddan More Psalter in which animal gut skin is sutured together with paintings of bog plants in a delicate shroud suspended in a state of transformation lingering between life and death. Methane Lake, 2022, is a video installation that explores the slow workings of geological processes found deep in permafrost, meditating on the sentience of ice. A Library of Lost Smells, 2023, is a rich olfactory experience, created from plants and mineral rich bog waters, that enables audiences to explore links between smell & memory and to connect to areas that no longer exist. This work will be activated on certain days throughout the exhibition when audiences will be enabled to smell the distillations. Please enquire at reception for more details.
The Boglands are Breathing continues until Sat. 8 July, 2023. Free admission to all exhibitions.
Commissioned by The Model with funding from an Arts Council Project Award. Supported by NatPro: Trinity College Dublin and Creative Ireland.
Image credits: Siobhán McDonald; The week the sun touched the Earth for EMMA, 2022, still image.