aisling o'beirn
artist documentation site




modelling stands 1997

university of ulster, belfast
work from pépiněer residency, bratislava, slovenia

Modelling Stands is part of a body of work produced whilst on a Pépiniere Residency in Bratislava, Slovakia in 1996 / 1997. I initially set out to reproduce the modelling stands that were in abundance at the Art School where I had my studio.

These stands seemed fitting imagery to look at structures, how they are supported and how they themselves support. Bratislava, at that time was the capital of a new Slovakia, and politically keen to assert itself as such. It is a city on the Danube and once an important juncture in the Austro - Hungarian Empire. It hosts some fine examples of opulent Baroque architecture. It also has a host of modernist buildings ranging from the good the bad to the ugly.

This bizarre architectural mix was of interest, not least because of the political history it reflected. At the time I was working there the old Baroque centre was undergoing a huge facelift in the form of refurbishment This could be interpreted as an example of the politics of showing a visible facade to assert a particular identity.

Producing plaster moulds of the tools used to produce the stands seemed a way of looking at the politics and dynamics of producing something in that environment (it being a difficult but interesting environment to work in). The casts of mundane utilitarian objects became precious fragile things, almost iconographic in nature, not unlike the Baroque motifs. The way the casts are seemingly, informally juxtaposed together (after an event) could suggest a hidden history that demands further investigation.

Sponsored by Pépiniere Residencees pour Jeunes Artistes 1997