Dublin Fragments Exhibition gives life to old Dublin
The latest exhibition to take centre stage at the City Assembly House is an interesting mix of treasures found over the years from demolished buildings and salvaged by artist Peter Pearson.
Dublin Fragments: The Pearson Collection curated by artist Peter Pearson is commissioned by the The Irish Georgian Society and located in the City Assembly House on South William Street.
An exhibition of architectural fragments and installations, it’s a homage to Dublin craftsmanship. When it comes to significant buildings in the city nowadays, it’s some what difficult to salvage artifacts from demolished buildings as they are mostly protected. That wasn’t always the case and these artifacts were salvaged decades ago but many have a longer history behind them.
DublinTown had a sneak-peak of the exhibition space before it went on public display and met with Peter to ask him more about this exhibition and his love for artifacts of the past. This really is a celebration of ‘craftsmanship’ he told us.
“This is all my collection. It has been in storage for some time but it’s not good to leave it there because you can’t see it – so why not put it on display?”
Old ironworks from Dublin, pillars from the old ESB House, door knockers, lead piping and stone works were gathered by Peter 20 – 30 years ago at a time when there was lots of demolition”
Asked how he got into it, he said it “just kind of happened”. One of the pieces on display is from Switzers, which most people know now to be Brown Thomas. “It is from the balcony before it was Brown Thomas.”
The interesting thing about this exhibition is the variety of pieces that have been discovered by Peter and his love for craftmanship. You’ll see bell pulls displayed that where used to call staff to come up with their breakfast. Items from public buildings: iron cramps from the Custom House which caused so much damage to its stonework; a plasterwork acorn from the Four Courts rescued before the 1920 fire; City Hall plasterwork; and there’s a decorative toilet from Dublin castle!
Paintings surrounding the walls have been painted by Peter himself. But how long does it take to finish one painting. He explained there’s no specific time frame. “It’s a bit like writing a book. You would keep going back and tweaking things. You might even come back a month later and say, no, don’t like that and change it.” One of his paintings is of the original Abbey Theatre building but it’s placed in Dalkey. “This is an interesting one… The reason it is pictured in Dalkey is because all the stones were salvaged 50 years ago and they are still lying in a garden in Dalkey. The original theatre could be put back at some point because all the stones are there.”
The collection has been displayed publicly on several occasions since 1991: at the Guinness Hop Store; Dublin Castle; Collins Barracks [IGS]; Cork [IGS} and Bonhams Dublin.
Just like archaeological artefacts, the exhibits that adorn the walls of the City Assembly House are artistic pieces in their own right showcasing just how historically significant the buildings of this city are.
Dublin Fragments; The Pearson Collection runs from Feb 21 – March 22 2020 more details can be found on igs.ie