Dublin’s last sculpture was built to disintegrate and is fully compostable


Dublin’s last sculpture was built to disintegrate and compost after its one-year tenure outside City Hall ended.

The colorful statue was unveiled on the O’Connell plinth this morning by Dublin Mayor Alison Gilliland.

This is the first of six new sculptures to be unveiled as part of the new “Sculpture Dublin” initiative.

At Current affairs lunch this morning sculptor Alan Phelan said the sculpture was a ‘sconce’ or wall sconce he originally made out of Fimo clay in his kitchen during the lockdown.

Dublin’s last sculpture was built to disintegrate and is fully compostable

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It was then enlarged using 3D scanning before being 3D printed to its current size of 5.5 meters.

Mr. Phelan said the finished piece is completely compostable.

“It’s a temporary one-year commission,” he said.

“It’s only going to be there for a year, so I’ve built in the ability to break down. It is made from eco-plastic, which is a plant-based plastic that the printer has used, and then it is covered with paper and paint so that it can be composted and disintegrated.

“Now I don’t want to destroy it after the year. I want him to have a life somewhere else, so we’re going to be working on that over the course of the year, but it was basically about taking the notion of something temporary and using a different approach to that kind of thing. materiality of a monument which is usually bronze or stone and using modern materials and methodologies.

The 'RGB Sconce, Hold Your Nose' statue outside City Hall, 29-09-2021.  Image Title: Naoise Culhane. The ‘RGB Sconce, Hold Your Nose’ statue outside City Hall, 29-09-2021. Image Title: Naoise Culhane.

The color palette is what Mr. Phelan has used in many of his recent work.

“It’s very colorful,” he says. “It’s made up of red, green, and blue colors and those colors combine to form all the other colors in the spectrum – that’s why it’s those three colors.

“It’s very colorful because it’s against a tall gray building, so it’s a great position to put something colorful and bright at this end of the street.”

The sculpture is titled “RGB Sconce, Hold Your Nose” – which refers to a poetry pamphlet published during the Dublin Castle scandal in 1884.

The scandal saw Irish nationalists reveal the gay activities of senior British officials and point to them as evidence of the corrupt and immoral nature of British rule.

Mr Phelan said the article highlights how much Ireland has changed over the years and celebrates the various forms of emancipation that have occurred in the region – from independence to marriage equality and reproductive choice.

You can listen to it again here:

Dublin’s last sculpture was built to disintegrate and is fully compostable

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


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