The Borrowing

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A series of analogue photography and plaster casts studying the monastic settlement of Inis Chlothrann on Lough Ree.


Local superstitions and folk tales associated with the site are central to how the this work was developed. Oral folklore warns us not to enter certain churches and not to take from them and it is said that anyone who takes stones from the churches is cursed. The Quaker who once owned the island took stones from Teampall Clogas to build a cottage. Subsequently, every animal on the island went mad, including his horse and he was forced to kill it.

These lessons were followed during the study of the site, in keeping with local traditions. Photography is used to capture the silence of the space: the empty ruins as well as the trees and waters that surround and protect them. Areas of stone wall from each church were moulded on site so that casts could be made without taking from or harming the ruins. The resulting cast fragments become sculptural echoes of the site in an attempt to borrow from it.

The work is an exploration of place, absence and tradition focusing on the traces of civilisation we leave behind, both through story and in stone.