At one time I walked almost every day on
Killiney beach, and I'd occasionally find pieces of driftwood with vaguely
human qualities. I played with the idea that each had been shaped over
time by the spirit of someone lost at sea, now clinging to the driftwood
in the hope that he might be carried back to land and human companionship.
With each piece of driftwood
that I found I'd imagine a sailor who had shaped it, his memories slipping
away as he gradually detached from his final physical connection. Poems
describing those memories grew in number as I found more driftwood over
the years, and I considered making shrines to hold the pieces of
driftwood, just as devout medieval craftsmen made reliquaries to hold tiny
pieces of the True Cross, a finger-bone of a saint, a feather from the
Angel Gabriel's wing.
The project comprises reliquary pillars, mourning figures, portrait prints of the sailors, and a diary of the monument-maker. The diary is not autobiographical.
Music by Cathy Davey & Neil Hannon
Shown in The National Maritime Museum Dublin, 4th - 30th July 2012
Sponsored by Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council
Dreaming About The Celestial Mountain
This work is currently under construction in Marlay Park, Dundrum.
Some years ago I came across a reference to The Celestial Mountain. I was convinced from the name that this must be a magical, wonderful place, and I spent a long time trying to locate it on maps. As I was unable to find it, it acquired mythic proportions for me. I know now that it's more commonly known by its Chinese name Tian Shan (The Mountains of Heaven).
Dreaming about The Celestial Mountain is about journeys that will never be made except in the imagination.
The path to the summit winds around the hill, forming a labyrinth. A poem is inscribed on steps to the central plateau, describing the rituals required when preparing for the journey.
A large scale sculptural group consisting of 6 "Performers" and 7 "Audience", each cast in granite and measuring up to 7ft in height. It is sited in Cabinteely Park, Dublin.
Theatre represents an aspiration to a more ideal world where the ability to recognize and accept the evils and flaws in human nature allows one to move forward without being changed or scarred by them.
Theatre is divided into two parts; Performers and Audience. The Performers (masks set on pillars) represent various human vices such as malice, greed, violence, while the audience holds itself apart from them.