Don’t Get Squirrelly, It’s Just a Sculpture
April 12, 2017
If you see a giant red squirrel on the side of The Workshop gastropub in George’s Quay sometime soon, you’re not nuts; it’s just the latest instalment by Portuguese artist, Artur Bordalo to his acclaimed, international art series, Trash Animals. The intention of this temporary project is to raise awareness of environmental conservation issues (the endangered red squirrel is already disappearing from Ireland); but what’s more is that this graffiti is not your typical spray painted variety, but it is rather a 3D sculpture composed of rubbish and trash collected from all over Dublin City to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to give a face to the victims of pollution. Bordalo’s works have been installed on prominent sites all over Europe, and now he is coming to Dublin with the aid of Pull the Trigger films who are making a documentary about his life and work, which will air later this year.
I was contacted by the film company to assist with obtaining the green light from Dublin City Council to install the sculpture on the side of the building, No. 10 George’s Quay, which is a Protected Structure. I provided an impact assessment and installation, removal, and mitigation measures to prevent any damage to the building, in close liaison with the project structural engineer. No. 10 stands in the place of an earlier, Georgian building, and was constructed c.1885 around the time that Butt Bridge was developed immediately to the north. Some images taken in the early and mid-20th century indicate the building’s original appearance, including its Victorian shop front which survives today, as well as its relationship to No. 9 prior to its demolition in recent years. This left a party wall, now an external facade, which was re-rendered in modern sand-and-cement and which will now serve as a blank canvas for Bordalo’s installation.
The sculpture will be constructed imminently and will remain in place only until September, at which time it will be carefully removed according to the specifications provided, and the external render consolidated. Although 45,000 people traverse the quay daily, the sculpture will not be visible from the city’s protected vistas such as from O’Connell Bridge toward the Custom House. So if you are passing by, perhaps on your way to Tara Street Station, be sure to take a look while you can. Just don’t feed the wildlife.
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