TU Dublin Fine Art Lecturer Represents Ireland at La Biennale Di Venezia

21 Apr, 2022

A series of sculptures and video installations by TU Dublin School of Creative Arts lecturer Dr Niamh O’Malley will be exhibited in the Irish Pavillion at the 59th International Art Exhibition, taking place from 23 April to 27 November 2022.

The Venice Biennale has for 120 years been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Dr O’Malley is a visual artist, using video, drawing, painting & sculpture to examine ways in which we try to access the world through images.


Commissioner: Culture Ireland

Curators: Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Curatorial Team

And as matter makes matter and space makes space, I am a room and bear a room, just the same, whether you are looking or not.

(Eimear McBride)

Niamh O’Malley’s sculpture and moving image works hold us in the space for which they are made. Using steel, limestone, wood, and glass, she shapes and assembles objects to create a purposeful landscape of forms. Sculptures tall and free-standing, ground-bearing and cantilevered, with paced and looped moving image, inhabit and animate.

On the floor lie undulating limestone forms punctured by deep cuts and reminiscent of drains or the harsh fissures in weathered, sedimentary rock. There are hints at functional objects and familiar structures; architecture’s shadow. Shelter invites us to stand under its awning and look up into a fan of leaf-embossed translucent glass. Vent fills an entire LED screen, concentrated on a loop of flapping louvers, opening, closing, in and out. Breathing.

Time and again, support systems dominate, becoming a part of, not just a means of displaying work. An outsize shelf carries an assemblage of coloured glass and concertinaed metal. A tangle of wooden contours are suspended via a steel rod. These are surfaces, and this is an exhibition, where one part depends on the other, filtering light, bearing weight, and holding together a system of planes and shapes. O’Malley’s works, writes Lizzie Lloyd, “are replete with edges that outline, overlap, and neighbour other edges. Their meeting points accentuate buffed, pitted, powdered, and polished surfaces over which our eye catches and slips.”

This exhibition is a call to gather. It invites movement and communality. It is both lure and demand, for touch, encounter, and occupancy. It draws attention to its location towards the end of the length of the Arsenale; a place of thresholds, windows, glass, holes, drains, vents, and a glimmer of water and daylight. O’Malley’s sculptures gesture towards enabling, offering protection, conveying sensations of touch, and more – of grabbing, holding, caressing surfaces, offering a moment of tether and precarious poise.

Ireland at Venice 2022 will continue as a National Tour curated as a multi-venue exhibition and public engagement programme during 2023. Niamh O’Malley’s Gather will be presented at The Model, Sligo; Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin; and Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. The National Tour will be accompanied by an online and in-person public engagement programme presented by Mayo Arts Service and Mayo County Council.

Ireland at Venice is located in the Arsenale section of the Biennale Arte and open to the public for the duration of the Biennale, taking place in 23 April – 27 November 2022. 

For more information, please visit: International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.