Liadin Cooke: Ballroom (ornament)
6 July – 4 October 2003
Exhibition in Gallery 4
Inspired by the lost or the forgotten and interwoven with her own recollections, Liadin Cooke isolates and transforms details until only a trace of their original appearance remains - a process like the distortion of memories through the passage of time.
She experiments with displacement, bringing the past and the future into the present, by linking disparate locations and by using discordant materials. This new work, made especially for the Institute, stems from 1995 when Cooke attended a function in the ballroom of the Irish Embassy, London. The ornate gilded stucco she saw decorating the walls of the room was later the focus of her drawings in red paint in which modelled details became abstract forms. These drawings eventually led to 'Ballroom (ornament)'.
Cast in brass and covered with a tracery of flowers and insects, the sculpture could easily slip into the heavily ornate decoration of the Embassy, but within the confines of Gallery 4 it had a deliberately odd presence. 'Ballroom (ornament)' is in fact too big for an ornament but it is also too small to be monumental, and although its surface is finely detailed, the work is gaudy, squat and far from beautiful.