Limerick, Ireland

Tom de Paor & Peter Maybury

b. 1967 / 1969, Ireland

A nymphaeum dedicated to Arethusa (the waterer). The smitten Alpheus pursues Arethusa, who with the help of Artemis seeks refuge as a cloud. She perspires from fear and becomes a stream, whereupon she attempts to flee, only to be met by Alpheus who flows through the sea to mingle with her fresh water spring.

The form of Temperance came about with great ease from an equation of materials and labour costs. Initally tall and narrow, its dimensions were transposed for stability as there could be no foundation. Fabricated from four 6mm mild steel sheets, its scale and geometry come from commercially available sheet sizes. The four plates incline and are seam welded. Across them ARETHUSA is written two letters per side, as a circular text, sharing the first letter as last. The execution of the lettering is a matter of expediency. Hand-rendered by oxyacetaline torch, the process decides the detailing as the letters are drawn monoline and the counter of the ‘R’ falls away as waste.

Temperance is a truncated, inverted pyramid. As a vessel it is a failed rainwater collector, unable to retain its contents; a reminder of the perils which water holds for us. Rainwater accumulates before weeping onto the ground through the spelled out ARETHUSA. The mild steel reverts to iron oxide, discolouring the rainwater as it spills out. Sited at the confluence of the Shannon and Abbey rivers it marks a moment. The cut letter ‘A’ casts a negative outline which is oriented to mark a north point.

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


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