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Ireland at Venice: In Search of Hy-Brasil
Image: Ste MurrayImage: Ste Murray
Ireland’s Representation at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale
Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Patrick O’Donovan T.D. opened Ireland’s Representation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
The exhibition, In Search of Hy-Brasil, supported by the RIAI, is curated by a team of five architects, Peter Carroll, Peter Cody, Elizabeth Hatz, Mary Laheen and Joseph Mackey. Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council.
In Search of Hy-Brasil presents fieldwork from Ireland’s remote islands, investigating their diverse cultures, communities, and experiences. The exhibition has a focus on renewable energy, ethical food production and biodiversity, capturing the islands’ sustainable methods of livelihood through drawing, models, film, sound, writing and language, to raise awareness of the islanders’ management of resources and their balancing of the delicate equilibrium between culture and nature. The pavilion responds to the theme, The Laboratory of the Future - selected by curator of the Biennale Architettura 2023, Lesley Lokko.
The exhibition offers an immersive experience using local materials that highlight the traditional heritage of each island; for example 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. 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). In doing this, In Search of Hy-Brasil shifts between the global and the local, the territorial and the intimate and 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.
Ireland at Venice 2023 builds on Ireland’s strong presence at the International Architecture Exhibition of La biennale di Venezia. In recent years the Biennale Architettura 2018 was curated by Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects. This year sees the involvement of Irish architects Emmett Scanlon, Alice Clancy and Laurence Lord on the Biennale’s Curator Lesley Lokko’s curatorial team. Culture Ireland is also supporting the project of BothAnd Group, which is participating in Curator’s Special Projects at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition curated by Lesley Lokko. Also supported by Culture Ireland, a project by architect Miriam Dunne will be featured in Time Space Existence, running in Venice at the same time as the Biennale this year.
The exhibition will continue in Venice from May until November and will then undertake a national tour of Ireland in 2024, supported by The Arts Council. The tour will recreate elements of the installation on the islands, with the curatorial team seeking to create an enriched narrative, bringing voices from peripheral locations into mainstream conversations around our global future. The curators of the installation will publish a book of essays and contribute to a film documentary.
Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, said:
“I am very pleased that Ireland in Venice 2023 has opened 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. 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.”
Patrick O’Donovan T.D., Minister of State with Responsibility for the Gaeltacht and Gaeltacht Affairs, said:
“I am honoured to launch Ireland in Venice 2023. As Minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht I am particularly pleased that the exhibition provides a unique showcase for the Irish language where people from countries around the globe will get to hear and see the Irish language spoken as part of an immersive experience.”
More information on the Pavilion and curators can be found here.