firmament 2016


firmament  2016

by Catherine Barragry

welded bar, size and gold leaf

4.3m height, 2.5m width, 0.8m depth

image by Simon Mills

Exhibited as part of ‘Terra Incognita’, a three-person show curated by Dee Morrissey, Platform Arts, Belfast. Also exhibiting were Kathryn Maguire and Emma Houlihan. I had been imagining the first moment that humans ‘conquered’ the vertical axis of shelter and building. The somewhat haphazard intersecting lines of firmament came from this imagined first conquering of the vertical axis. The structure creates crooked or ‘stupid’ star shapes. The title of firmament, its ‘stupid’ stars and gilding trigger notions of esoteric practices of the Medieval period. Through a lens of esoteric spiritual beliefs the natural philosophers of Medieval Europe drove scientific knowledge that underpinned modern science. In the bible the firmament is a structure built by god to separate the waters of heaven from those below. The firmament then was a man-made concept; ‘built’ from logic, reason and experience. By splicing an imagined pre-modern moment (of conquering vertical territory) with medieval thought I attempted to open an aperture onto the archeology of the human mind as it interprets and makes sense of the world.