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Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Italy Architecture News - May 31, 2023 - 13:27   1659 views

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

The Irish Pavilion has installed a big black pile as an abstraction of the island of Sceilg Mhichíl made from Galway sheep’s wool at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale.

The exhibition, titled In Search of Hy-Brasil, explores Ireland’s remote islands and renewable resources, investigating their diverse cultures, communities and experiences. 

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

Curated by a team of five architects, Peter Carroll, Peter Cody, Elizabeth Hatz, Mary Laheen and Joseph Mackey, the exhibition presents a comprehensive study of the three island landscapes: Inis Meáin (Inishmaan), UNESCO World Heritage site Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael) and Cliara (Clare Island) through drawings, survey, film, sound, model, mapping, and story. 

The Irish Pavilion can be visited outside of the Arsenale venue from 20 May to 26 November, 2023 during the Venice Architecture Biennale, Italy

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

The installation aims to offer an immersive experience, while drawing connections between the social fabric, cultural landscape and ecology of these islands, shifting between the global and the local, the territorial and the intimate.

Renewable energy, ethical food production and biodiversity are other elements capturing the islands’ sustainable methods of livelihood, according to the curatorial team. 

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

The presentation is supported by drawings, models, films, sounds, writings and language, which aims to increase awareness of the islanders’management of resources and their balancing of the delicate equilibrium between culture and nature.

The curators used local materials to highlight the traditional heritage of each island. For example, the exhibition consists of sea sacks woven from discarded fishers’ rope, a linen tapestry mapping Ireland’s maritime zone and an abstraction of Sceilg Mhichíl made from Galway sheep’s wool. 

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

The installation includes large slabs of local limestone from the offshore islands of Inis Meáin (Inishmaan), UNESCO World Heritage site Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael) and Cliara (Clare Island).

To achieve this, the theme of In Search of Hy-Brasil shifts between the global and the local, the territorial and the intimate efforts. The exhibition gives international audiences the chance to experience connections between the social fabric, cultural landscape and ecology of these islands. 

The exhibition is also steeped in the Irish language through voice, writing and song.

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

"I am very pleased that Ireland in Venice 2023 will open tomorrow with the exhibition In Search of Hy-Brasil representing Ireland at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale. In Search of Hy-Brasil in responding to the joint themes of the Biennale - decarbonisation and decolonisation - examines the relationship between the islands of Ireland and their natural environment," said Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

"Irish architecture has had a strong presence at the Biennale in recent years, in particular since Grafton Architects Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell were selected as the Biennale curators in 2018. I have no doubt that the Hy-Brasil team will continue the robust representation of Irish architecture in Venice," Martin T.D. added.

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

The exhibition includes a hung linen tapestry mapping the extraordinary complexity and rich topography of Ireland’s maritime zone and beyond, an abstraction of Sceilg Mhichíl made from Galway sheep’s wool, a traditionally mill-woven yarn, re-proposed within the pavilion in an entirely different light, a Clare Island Survey, including a biological scientific study of microorganisms endangered by the climate crisis and a sea of interpretive drawings revealing aspects of unique living conditions on the islands.

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

Besides these elements, it showcases a film and soundscape of Inis Meáin, combining language, landscape, ocean, time and light, with a graphite rendering of the Pangaea, a reminder of our shared landmass in geological time.

Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council.

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Ste Murray

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Irish Pavilion investigates the country's remote islands and renewable resources at Venice Biennale

Image © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 is taking place from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 26 November, 2023 at the Arsenale and Giardini venues in Italy

The theme of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale is The Laboratory of the Future curated by Lesley Lokko.

Read more about WAC's coverage about the biennale pavilions on Venice Architecture Biennale 2023. Take a look at inside the Irish Pavilion on WAC's Reel.

Top image © Ste Murray. 

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