Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile’s custom art installation, made specifically for the Museum of Art and Archaeology on the MU campus, was a team effort. The artist and MU alum got help creating the bamboo, cotton, wire and rope sculpture from students in the MU Art Department and teens from the C.A.R.E. program. Hanging down from the ceiling in the foyer of Pickard Hall, the sculpture is a tangle of fabric strips. Once you’re up on the second floor, looking at it from a new perspective, it’s still hard to tell what it “is.”
Called Suibhne Gealt, the sculpture is named after Buile Suibhne, an Irish king who becomes half-man and half-bird after a bout of madness, or so the placard in the gallery said. I think it looks a bit like a boat. Either way, the work is intended as a “comment on the absurdity of life,” according to the placard. The ribbon-like nature of the fabric reminded me of CONFETTISYSTEM, the work of Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho, whose garlands of hanging paper tassels are popular at fashion parties and around the blogosphere. A sister outdoor installation called “The Wounded King” is outside Ragtag.
Upstairs in the museum is a small selection of ink drawings from Ó Fraithile. They are made on handmade paper and many of them depict a sea of little houses or map-like shapes. The handmade-nature of the paper plays up the map feeling with its rugged edges and uneven color. They reminded me of the kinds of maps a child might draw of their fantasy world. Not in the sense that the drawings were childish, the colors and forms used are very interesting. They just have this fantastical feeling to them. The exhibition is called “Ritualizing Place” and the repetitive nature of the imagery (imagine an entire country of little houses with the same red roof) and the scrawling Gaelic handwriting that covers many of the pieces reinforces that idea. Since it’s located on the quad, stop by the Museum of Art and Archaeology on the way to a film at Jesse Hall for a peek at this exhibition.
If you’re interested to learn more about the pieces, watch Vox’s interview with the artist.
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