Tuesday 7 August 2007

Public art work for Dublin Docklands

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority has announced the appointment of Antony Gormley as the artist in charge of a new and exciting sculptural commission for Docklands.

Engaging hereto unused construction techniques, it is hoped to be able to build a sizable structure - up to 48 metres high - that will be architectural in scale and be a signpost for the realignment of Dublin's epicentre eastwards.

Mr. Gormley has been inspired by the research of Professor Weaire of Trinity College, Dublin - who, with Professor Phelan, unlocked the geometries of the bubble matrix, to radically re-describe the human form as an open structure. In combination with the advanced geometry unit of Arup Engineers (London), he is hoping to be able to make a river-sited work that arises from the water as a drawing in space.

Commenting on the proposed design, Mr Gormley said - "The work will allude to the human body as a dynamic interconnected matrix, evoking the collective body - which is, in itself, in dynamic relation to the movement of people in the street and across the new Sean O'Casey Bridge."

Gormley has evolved this proposal from Field - a vast installation of 35,000 sculptures last seen in Dublin in 1993 at his show in IMMA - where tiny clay objects looked up at the viewer. This dynamic has been reversed in this proposal for Dublin, where the walkers on the street will become the Lilliputians in relation to this subliminally evoked collective body.

The sculpture will read as a drawing against the changing light of the sky, within an area of Dublin that has low rise buildings on both sides of the river.

The final form of the work is yet to be decided and will be the result of ongoing discussions between the research team and the artist.

The appointment of Antony Gormley comes after an international competition and year-long selection process for a landmark public art project for the Docklands.

The Docklands Authority plans to lodge a planning application for the work before the end of the year. Subject to planning permission, construction is likely to start during 2008 - and, once on site, the work will take approximately eight months to build and will cost in the region of €1.6 million.

A Dublin-based contractor, capable of delivering this imaginative and ground breaking work, is yet to be appointed. Antony Gormley and Arup Engineers are actively searching at this time for the necessary construction skills and technologies to enable them to deliver the project.

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