Aoife Ruane, the incredibly brilliant director of The Highlanes Gallery in Drogheda has commissioned me to work on a site specific project for the gallery beginning August 14.
Welcome to Drogheda Press Release
'Artist Fergal McCarthy is about to delve beneath the surface of Drogheda, as part of a major new project at the Highlanes Gallery. Setting up a tent in the middle of the gallery, he will live there for four days exploring everything the town has to offer - from Ireland’s largest flip-flop to the severed head of an illustrious saint.
On each of the four days, at sunset and sunrise, he will dress in a tuxedo and play a daily trumpet serenade to the town on the roof of Scotch Hall, with music composed for this project by Nick Seymour of Australian band Crowded House.
The discoveries and interactions McCarthy has with the town will be shared on Twitter (@fergalmccarthy1). He will lead a daily walking tour of the town culminating with a ‘Welcome to Drogheda’ talking shop on Saturday 17 August with invited guests discussing their favorite Drogheda jewels, led by art critic Gemma Tipton.
Artist Fergal McCarthy is best known for his site specific installations on the Liffey River in Dublin, the red and green monopoly houses of Liffeytown in 2010 and his week living on a desert island in the river with No Man’s Land in 2011.
The hidden gems he discovers in Drogheda will inspire a self-penned offbeat guidebook to the town and a giant, illustrated map which will be displayed in the gallery along with a salon hang of Drogheda-centric artworks chosen from the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection.
“The inspiration for the project began with my curiosity about a stunning 19th Century painting of Drogheda by Gabrielle Riciardelli that hangs in the Collection,” said McCarthy. “I was inspired to seek out the same level of beauty that Riciardelli portrayed so masterfully on oil and canvas. But in the 21st Century Drogheda’s charms have evolved, so instead of a walled town bathed in golden light, I am discovering world class graffiti under bridges and multi-storey car parks with panoramic views.”
Living and sleeping in the gallery for 3 nights, the artist will camp in the space using his own tent. Visitors will be welcome to view the work while the artist makes them coffee. A collection of reading material referencing Drogheda will be displayed onsite including the artist made guidebook which will also be available from the tourist office, the train station and cafés.
The project will create a multi faceted map of Drogheda both conceptually and physically and the exhibition will stay on in the gallery for a further 2 weeks after the initial 4 day project. Artists are often invisible within the context of a gallery, their work is on show but they themselves are rarely glimpsed by the general public. By living and working onsite McCarthy hopes to engage with as many people as possible, especially those that live in Drogheda. This is the essence of the project – a conversation with the town and its people, from the perspective of an outsider'.