I fell for the press release and dutifully lured a crew of our art writers to visit Art in the Garden in Russborough House to see the largest assembly of works by Salvador Dalí ever to be staged in Ireland. The collection comprised of large outdoor pieces presented outside the front of the mansion and smaller pieces in the Hippodrome — fancy word for a horse house replete with the smell and poor lighting.
Being such an ignoramus, particularly with respect to sculpture, I feel ashamed that I needed a big name like Dalí to lure me to visit this gem in interior Wicklow. The exhibition, hosted by Gormleys Fine Art in partnership with The Dalí Universe, included large outdoor and indoor works by the best known [to everyone but me] Irish and International sculptors. Lucky me for falling for the marketing to see such a fine collection of sculpture that I’ll admit I’d never have traveled to see without that big draw. I can see now why political parties parachute in celebrities for by-elections.
Lucky Loo has written a far better review of the show here, but all I will say is that I was underwhelmed by the Dalí collection of bronze spin-offs of his most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory (1931), also known as the Melting Clocks.
I was thinking of that immediacy but felt the pieces didn’t work in this three-dimensional form, ironically they felt flatter than the paintings. Neither the 2-metre high Lady Godiva sculpture outside nor the many casts inside, such as the Space Elephant above, captured me.
The serious silver lining was the discovery of so much beautiful work that I wouldn’t have found without the Dalí as the bait. Here’s a just of taste of some the super Irish and international sculptures.
Alas, the exhibition was only with us for a couple of weeks and is moving to the Culloden Estate and Spa, overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Antrim coastline, where it will run from Saturday 15 June to Sunday 30 June. Catch it if you can for ABD – anything but Dalí!
Theatre was my first love. It all started with the One-Act and 3-Act AmDram festivals in our local theatre to get out of the house to smoke cigarettes on school nights. It wasn’t long before I had graduated onto the Class As in the Abbey, Peacock, Project, Tivoli and even more fringe events and locations. It’s physical. Being present with the cast, the crew, the soundscape of mutters, coughs, and gasps from the audience; the dust, the set, the murmur murmur hum before curtain. Pure energy. I can forgive anything — set, direction, costumes, props, performance — except bad writing.
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