La Fontaine du Realisme - Recycled wood, coloured packing tape, steel tables, plastic inflatable swimming pools. Temporary site-specific Installation Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris
When the jury of the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris rejected two of Gustave Courbet's works, he withdrew his eleven accepted submissions and displayed his paintings privately in his Pavillon du Realisme. For the introduction to the catalogue of this independent show, Courbet wrote a Realist Manifesto, echoing the tone of the period's political manifestos.
Eight universal expositions took place in Paris between 1855 and 1937, and each included fountains, which demonstrated the latest in technology and artistic styles. They introduced illuminated fountains, fountains, which performed with music, fountains made of glass and concrete, and modern abstract fountains to Paris. The first such exposition, organised in 1855 by Louis Napoleon in response to the huge success of the Universal Exposition in London in 1851, displayed cast-iron fountains, on the model of the Fontaine to Louvois of Visconti, which could be purchased by any town or city. The history of fountains in Paris until the mid-19th century was the history of the city's struggle to provide clean drinking water to its growing population and have an important social connection to the city.
La Fontaine du Realisme, produced while on residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, takes its impetus from Courbet's Realist Manifesto and the necessity for the artist to: " be in a position to translate the customs, the ideas, the appearance of my time, according to my own estimation."
La Fontaine de Realisme consists of a combination of recycled wood collected locally, coloured gaffer tape, garden furniture from the C.C.I courtyard and two plastic swimming pools purchased locally to complete the sculpture. It has been installed into the courtyard of the C.C.I and at night is illuminated with a number of theatrical lights (normally used by the C.C.I for its own theatre productions). The lights have coloured gels and illuminate the work in a dramatic manner against the backdrop of this historical building.
Phoenix Rising - Hugh Lane Gallery
For the group exhibition Phoenix Rising I recreated the base of La Fontaine du Realisme out of wood and black plastic and installed it in a darkened room alongside a large photograph of La Fontaine du Realisme in-situ in Paris.