Limerick, Ireland
Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw, Torrent Chadwick's Big Wind Study Model, c. 1839, felt and various media, 70 x 155 cm

Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw

b. 1967, USA

The Chadwicks are an ancient family of dandies, art connoisseurs, amateur historians and financiers who, since their recent financial troubles, have enlisted the services of Blachly + Shaw to oversee the display of their large archive of art objects, manuscripts and ethnographic objects. In the early 19th century, the Chadwicks began collecting first-hand accounts of harrowing shipwrecks. They presented this activity as an anthropological effort to preserve a threatened oral culture and to honour those often overlooked deckhands who were routinely lost at sea. The Chadwicks’ critics, however, saw the interviews as attempts to gain information that might be used in legal cases, since the Chadwick family had massive stakes in most of the British and European shipping lines. Perhaps to appease these critics, the Chadwicks soon after began making a series of shipwreck memorial sculptures – always depicting not the threatened vessel, but the moment after the sea had claimed it. These are paper sculptures mounted on wood, with brass plaques commemorating the name of the ship and the place of the shipwreck.

The display for e v+ a focuses on the vessels lost in the Big Wind of 6 January 1839, which devastated the Limerick ships. Along with the shipwreck memorials, the installation includes a study model of the Big Wind damage and a contemporary photographic homage to the Big Wind by Blachly + Shaw.

(Text: e v+ a – matters catalogue, 2010)

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