Since our inception we've been preparing for an inevitable standoff with our City Council. Our differences have caused a clash between imagination and risk mitigation. This led to a court battle over several years, stemming from their allegation of “unauthorised development”.
Navigating the legal system, and the activities of our day to day lives have provided many moments of introspection and reflection. When conformity replaces courage, authority can run riot if left unchecked and unchallenged. Especially local authority.
In this series of public artworks, born from the limitations of interpretation of the Planning & Development Act, we hope to start a conversation. Our monochromatic murals reject these limitations through the exempted class of “painting” - provided for in the Planning & Development Regulations.
The complexity of this situation (read the previous blog post for full details) is mirrored through our minimalist approach. We have attempted to simplify the bureaucracy through conceptual and practical reductionism. Each piece explores collaborative gestural painting using traditional tools and materials, and those of our own making.
This piece includes the lodgement of a complaint, triggering the city council’s formal investigation procedure. With no definition for “mural” within the legislation, we hope to compel the Planning and Enforcement departments to categorise this work of art and engage with these questions.
Purple exists between the intersection of the primary colours red and blue, with its symbology dating back to the gods. Said to have been serendipitously found by Hercules and his dog, the colour became a favourite amongst deities and royalty. A costly and difficult process to produce the dye meant only the highest social classes could afford it. Over time these cost limitations extended into legislative prohibitions. Intriguing given it is also associated with the most spiritual of the Chakras, the Crown.
Julius Caesar limited the colour to Emperors, while Nero and Caligula made it a capital offence to wear it. Christ was wrapped in a purple robe as a mocking emblem of his royalty before his sentencing. With the advent of synthetic dyes during the industrial revolution, it became widely accessible to the public before finding a place in direct action. For the Suffragettes it represented loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause and the instinct for freedom and dignity. For us it visualises the inexplicable.
We were informed that the City Council intend on making applications to the Circuit Court in respect of the mural which was painted on this building we decided to replace it with another monochromatic mural.
This will require a new investigation to proceed with prosecution, whilst simultaneously giving rise to questions regarding section 58. (1) of the Planning & Development Act, namely “ensuring that the (protected) structure, or any element of it which contributes to its special architectural, historical, archeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest, is not endangered”. Given its condition prior to our original painting, and consideration of the "character of the structure or of neighbouring structures", their findings should be interesting
Before and throughout the process of painting these public artworks we also painted a piece using a oil and masonry on canvas. This gave us the opportunity to explore and experiment with the tools and techniques that would also be used to create the murals.
We are very grateful to have been invited by NCAD (National College of Art & Design) to display this piece on their campus, it's an honour. Shout out to Brian Hand for his continuous support and his role in making this happen. We hope it will be valuable to the students as they work to understand and develop their place within our country’s arts & culture.