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“Kevin Myers” in Sculpture in Context

September 5, 2009

Kevin Myers on the Hill

This work, Kevin Myers, was made for the Sculpture in Context exhibition that takes place every year in Ireland’s National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in Dublin. The form is of a ship, made of pieces of old goods pallettes and a car bonnet cut in half. It is a physical result of something that I have spent much time thinking about over the last two years: the consumerism involved in the making of art; particularly regarding the choice of using new materials, or re-using old materials to make something new.

woodwind turbine on a boat

The reuse of old materials has traditionally been done in order to avoid the financial cost of buying new materials. This is generally my motive for using them. I am also attracted to the challenge of making something that is good out of what is often discarded in a society as mind-blowingly rich as ours. (That is why people in the third world are often very good at this kind of autonomous recycling.)

the hub

Due to the rise and rise of the media profile of climate change and its entourage of environmental issues – which I think is broadly a positive development – people now assume that if I reuse old materials, I must be making a statement about recycling or the environment. It is worth saying at this point however that all the talk about climate change has had an effect of less than zero on our emissions. These issues are now breeding  a mythology of their own. People become self-righteous about recycling now – as if it is better to recycle goods than to not consume them in the first place.

palette hull

The myth of some green salvation – consumer society continuing as is with wind turbines powering it all – has fused with the myth of perpetual progress to make an unrealistic mongrel ideology, more like a sci-fi fantasy than a credible programme. The inevitable result of a plan so at odds with physical reality is a social and economic shipwreck. This is why the ship resembles a fusion between Noah’s Ark and the Titanic – two boats that are at the centre of influential mythologies. I’m sure you can guess which is which.

the deck

Sculpture in Context is open in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, until 16th October 2009. It’s open every day from 9am to 6pm just like the wonderful gardens themselves.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2009 18:27

    Why did you entitle the piece “Kevin Myers”?

    I love it by the way; I spent a good hour perusing it this afternoon.
    Well done.

    • James permalink
      November 23, 2009 21:27

      Great work Ian!

      • James permalink
        November 23, 2009 21:27

        Oh and…more photos of the front please!

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