Limerick, Ireland
Dara McGrath, Peripheries, 2006, photographs, 60 x 90 cm

Dara McGrath

b. 1970, Ireland

In Experiencing Architecture, Steen Eiler Rasmussen describes an empty space as being a ‘cavity between the solids’.1 It is these ‘cavities’ that have become the focus of my work over recent years. My interest lies in exploring the transitional lives of spaces, those inbetween places where architecture, landscape and the built environment often intersect, and where a dialogue – of absence rather than presence – is created. My work takes as its starting point Foucault’s observation that spaces are ‘saturated with qualities’,2 and are neither lifeless nor neutral. My practice is driven by explorations of these charged, shifting entities – buildings that have come to the end of their functionality, the changing functionality of a landscape, human interruptions in the landscape – that exist in urban, rural and suburban contexts. The process is then opened out further through an examination of how artistic intervention into these spaces informs, or even transforms them, restoring to them a new or different reality. The resultant photoworks are realised both within the gallery space and as site-specific interventions/installations and collaborations.

The work exhibited here explores the suburban territories of Paris, built in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s to solve housing shortages. These ‘utopian mini-cities’ 3 are composed mainly of concentrated, compacted high-rise tower blocks. Today, these banlieues or citiès are considered failed social experiments and are dumping grounds for new immigrant populations and society’s unwanted. The photos look for structures and codes in the city’s geography that stand for specifics of place.

(Text: too early for vacation catalogue, 2008)

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