Thinking Living Dwelling Exhibition Essay

We just thought we’d update our web site with the full coverage of the Thinking Living Dwelling exhibition from late last year including an essay from Joanne Laws. Some great photos of the show too.

Thinking Living Dwelling
Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3, Visual Arts
26 August – 14 October

Leo Scarff, David Lunney, Nicos Nicolaou, Vanya Lambrecht-Ward, Zunaira Khurshid, Ali Kirby, Elaine Reynolds, Dominic Stevens.

This exhibition is designed to underpin and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Leitrim’s Green Door Festival. The title makes reference to Martin Heidegger’s seminal text “Building dwelling, thinking” in which he challenges us to think about what it is to dwell and what it means to build. Dwelling is to occupy a home, to build is to make a container for all life’s activities. Over the course of the exhibition there will be an associated programme of talks, meetings, and screenings, facilitating creative discussions between homeowners, architects, makers and artists. More information will be made available in the coming weeks.

The Green-Door is a Festival of Rural Architecture and Design take place from Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October. The weekend offers access to homes, buildings of architectural and heritage interest. It is a weekend where we are encouraged to look at our built environment, our local, inherited and new built vernacular and consider its impact on our lives and landscape. 2017 will be the fourth festival. Website:

Leo Scarff’s visual language is informed by structural systems. His methods of working can be read in the physicality of his designs and in the scale and ambition of the installation in Gallery 2 where he has developed a focal point which references home and house. An object, which forms a meeting point for knowledge exchange and information, a repository for films and books, which reflect some of the learning of various home builders and reflects on the interests and concerns which inform The Green Door Festival.

Scarff trained in Spatial Design at the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Aalto Art and Design College in Helsinki. His works are often influenced by mathematical and geometrical explorations. Scarff’s background in product design and knowledge of the structural capabilities of materials underpins a sophisticated understanding of what forms can be achieved and manipulated in 3 dimensions. Digital fabrication technologies such as CNC (Computer Navigated Cutting) and laser cutting inform the design and manufacture of the ‘House’ installation.

David Lunney’s artworks typically begin with the construction of site-specific sculptural works. He has installed these in the Dublin Mountains, in Wicklow near to where he grew up, and at sites along the river Boyne. He has family connections in County Fermanagh and will be developing a new work based on the landscape of the Northwest for this exhibition. Elements of the work are made in a “secret forest” near Carrick-on-Shannon. Lunney places these sculptures in “hidden” sites, which are to be found in locations such as forests and in places which would be considered off the beaten track. They are often come upon by walkers and foresters. Sometimes, they are treated with reverence and respect, and other times they have been destroyed or mutilated. As objects the sculptures aren’t made for their inherent value but rather as devices which function as photographic source material for documentary artworks that are later installed within gallery contexts. The artworks can take the form of prints, drawings or photographs. These images are rendered, framed and presented in a fashion which intentionally obscures and embellishes the original moment that they represent.

Nicos Nicolaou’s works draw from the use of varied materials and techniques. Within the context of this exhibition he articulates three main areas of interest; the biography of objects, the cutting or bisecting of objects and the reconfiguring of these cut-objects. The works make reference to the visual language of the everyday world in which we all operate. These objects have values as humans do, in that they occupy our environments and our spaces. These particular objects have everydayness about them, such as reconfigured chair boxes or packing materials. They are discarded items which articulate a connectivity repetition and the ways we are dwelling in the world.

Nicolaou’s materials are a very important part of the work. They open dialogues as to what the values and characteristic of certain objects might be. They point to the relationships between materials in the work, and he is interested in the dynamic and dialogue between objects, processes and people. In 2015, he was awarded an Arts Grant, Professional Development – DLR grant scheme, for his project Choice-Cuts. He also received a DLR arts grant in 2011. He was awarded the Fire Station Studios Workshop Bursary in 2010. Solo exhibition include the site-specific installation, Understory, at the Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely (2012). Group Exhibitions include Golden Mountain, Tulca Festival of Visual Art, Galway Arts Centre (2013); OPEN 2013, Mermaid Arts Centre, Co. Wicklow (2103). He has participated in residencies in Ireland, France and the UK.

Zunaira Khurshid has recently graduated from IADT, B.A honours visual art practice. She has exhibited with Pallas Project/Studios and Steam Box in 2016. She is interested in cultural and personal barriers, boundaries and her work at The Dock is part of ‘Hijab Series’, made for her graduate exhibition. This work is making reference to the garment, which can be read as a living expression of devotion and commitment to religious principles. Women wearing the Hijab, depending on varying cultural contexts and readings, may be either encouraged or even challenged for wearing the veil. Khurshid is interested in qualities of materials such as plastics and textiles, and in patterns and calligraphy which she has replicated in large scale on sheeting plastic with paint and glue. Her work involves observation of the self, identity and expressions of cultural difference.

Ali Kirby will make a new work based on time spent here visiting homes in Leitrim in July 2017. Her sculptural assemblages and installations physically respond to the built environment. Ordinary construction materials are re-purposed to create seemingly robust structures that reveal their fragility upon inspection. Concrete, plaster, soap and textiles often sit side by side in these sculptural arrangements that position themselves somewhere between interior and exterior space. Her approach to materials and colour is intuitive, often employing a muted palette, soft textures and hard edges to create the various surfaces and forms normally associated with architecture. These soft-edged fabrics and forms butt up against concrete or wood in an attempt to draw our attention to the relationships between materials, how they connect, support, become damaged or distressed and ultimately reveal their potential for transformation. Recent exhibitions include Futures, Series 3, Episode 1 (2017) Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, only connect (2017) Kevin Kavanagh gallery, Dublin, all shimmers here (2016) MART Gallery, Dublin, Describing Architecture – Memory and Place (2015) City Assembly House, Dublin, the 185th RHA Annual Exhibition (2015) Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Periodical Review #4 (2015) Ormston House, Limerick, Periodical Review #4 (2014) Pallas Projects, Dublin.

Dominic Stevens makes cutting edge contemporary architecture projects specializing in recent years in buildings in the Irish landscape. Two recent buildings include the “Inbetween House” near Ballinamore, County Leitrim which won a special mention in the AAI awards and has been published in magazines worldwide, including the Prestigious A+U magazine in Japan, where it was one of eight buildings featured in a special edition on Ireland and the “Mimetic house”, in Leitrim which won an AAI award and has been extensively published world-wide both in prestigious architecture magazines. Stevens has completed a new Coastguard Station for the Department of Transport in the sensitive tourist landscape of Doolin in County Clare, at the foot of the Cliffs of Moher. He was selected for this commission on the basis of his careful yet contemporary approach to designing buildings in the Irish landscape. He represented Ireland in the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture with the project FluidCity, which proposes a new vibrant rural/urban city along the length of the Shannon River. He has been awarded the “Kevin Kieran Award “by the Arts Council of Ireland and the OPW.

Elaine Reynolds makes installations that bring together video, sculpture and photographic elements. Often beginning research with a particular geography or social setting, she begins to collect imagery through diverse means. Sundowner (2014) is derived from the experiences of ‘Fly in – Fly out’ workers who inhabit mining camps across the iron rich Pilbara region of North Western Australia. Promisings (2013) takes as its subject, the 1950’s modernist suburbs of Fittja, Stockholm, and the plans for their regeneration, while Henge (2011) stages a ritual gathering at the rogue concrete monument on Achill Island, off the west coast of Ireland. Reynolds is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and Goldsmiths College, London and continues to work and live between Ireland and the UK. Recent presentations include #SORRYNOTSORRY: A Rehearsal OR an Improvisation, as part of The Southern Summer School, BAK, Utrecht and All Pirates to Proxy Bay in Tate Britain, London. She has participated in residencies and collaborative research projects at PICA, Western Australia, Botkyrka Kunsthal, Stockholm, and the Ratti Foundation, Como, Italy.

Vanya Lambrecht Ward is a Collooney based artist and designer. She initially worked in set design before finishing a degree in fine art in Sligo. In 2010 Vanya graduated with a MA (Art in the Contemporary world ) at NCAD, Dublin. She is currently pursuing an architectural degree and works as a design consultant for a small studio providing architectural services. Her practice is centered around the built environment and combines photography, sculpture, painting and installation. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Presented in collaboration with The Green Door Festival of Rural Architecture and Design which takes place from Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October.

Commissioned essay by Joanne Laws

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm
Saturday 10.30am to 5.30pm
Further Info

Inspirational Homes
Leitrim Sculpture Centre
Leo Scarff Design
David Lunney

Exhibition Partners

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