Isabel Nolan, Unmade

The Return Gallery, Goethe-Institut Irland, Dublin

16 November 2012 - 21 December 2012

Circumstances shaped an emptiness


Isabel Nolan

mild steel, wadding, various fabrics and thread

dimensions variable

In her exhibition "Unmade" which will be opened in the Goethe-Institut's Return Gallery on Thursday 15 November 2012 at 6pm, Isabel Nolan refers to documentary material from the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg/Germany.


“In 1894, on at least two occasions, a resident of a psychiatric hospital in Heidelberg, Germany tore up her bed clothes. Just two extant photographs document the results of Marie Lieb’s strange actions. They show strips of fabric, cotton perhaps, of differing lengths which are carefully laid out in patterns upon the wooden floors... By placing the torn textiles onto the floor, she made a carpet of sorts. But it is only the bones of a carpet...” Isabel Nolan


It is the provisory, absurd nature, and endless capacity for re-configuration of Marie Lieb’s rugs which provides the starting point for a floor based sculpture by Isabel Nolan. The sculpture is comprised of 144 sections of fabric covered mild steel pipe. These units vary in length and in the colours and patterns of the different fabrics hand-stitched around the pipe. These elements can be laid out in multiple ways to carpet a floor but they still fail to function as a rug. The sculpture was originally commissioned by Vaari Claffey for Gracelands at EVA International, Limerick, 2012.


For this exhibition the gallery has been painted to match the colours of the stairwell and landing of the Goethe Institut. The sculpture is presented largely unassembled but is accompanied by a series of photographs which document the piece laid out in several of its possible rug-like arrangements and a new text by Nolan.


On December 11th at 6pm the curator of the exhibition, Vaari Claffey, Isabel Nolan and others will present an illustrated conversation to accompany the work.


Supported by the Friends and Patrons of the Goethe-Institut Irland

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