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Irish Pavilion

Drawn together with painter Brian Maguire to represent Ireland at the 11 Cities / 11 Nations exhibition in the Netherlands, we designed the pavilion to house 12 of his paintings on the theme of isolation and institution, loneliness and prison. We wanted to build the project around the pictures, to treat the artist’s psyche as the site. Common ground was found in discussion of Beckett’s writing; The Lost Ones had inspired one of the drawings. We thought of a space made with timber and corrugated iron containing elements such as ladders and catwalks which could intensify the experience of viewing each particular picture.

Following the exhibition in Leeuwarden the pavilion was then dismantled and re-erected for the inaugural exhibition in the courtyard of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 1991.

The Irish Pavilion was the first, albeit temporary, built structure of the O’Donnell + Tuomey partnership. It was a point of departure in our work, an exploration of the question of character, or a search for a sense of heft and presence, which crosses over from the internalised discipline of architecture into a wider field of experience and association.


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