Letterkenny sculptor Redmond Herrity will be involved in something of a “pop-up” art installation today, when he frames the iconic statue of Charles Stewart Parnell that stands at the top of Dublin’s O’Connell Street.
Redmond has created a homely looking, wall-papered, sitting-room wall that bears a golden frame around an empty space. The wall will be erected on O’Connell Street early on Wednesday morning, set about 22 metres away from the Parnell statue. When pedestrians pass by and look at the installation, “It’s going to look like a sitting-room wall with a picture of Parnell,” Redmond said.
The project is the result of Retrofit, a group of young arts managers working in collaboration with Redmond on a public artwork conceived to reframe the Parnell monument. Redmond’s installation will be in place for one today only, from about 9 am to 7 pm.
Redmond said the project asked artists to consider how they would make the public aware of the statue in a different way, and said he had been thinking of something along these lines for some time. He said he had considered similar installations for Donegal that would place such iconic landmarks as Errigal, Glenveagh National Park or St. Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny within a free-standing frame.
“I’ve had this idea for years -- something framed with a sitting room wall, outdoors,” he said. Redmond recently won the RHA’s Connor Moran Award for Outstanding Sculpture.
Conor McHugh of Letterkenny, a student at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design, and Technology (IADT), is visual arts manager on the project. He said the plan was to “highlight and recontextualise monuments on O’Connell Street”, allowing the public to reconnect with public art from a new perspective.
“It will be a good spectacle,” Conor said. Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland magazine and founder of Historical Walking Tours Dublin, will also be on hand to discuss the history of Parnell, the statue and its sculptor, Augustus Saint Gaudens.
The project is supported by Dublin City Council and was conceived in the School of Business and Humanities in Institute of Art, Design and Technical.