Dublin City Arts Office
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

+353 1 222 5455

Past Exhibition

Deck – A Collection of Found Playing Cards

Claire Halpin

March 03 - July 02 2022

The LAB Gallery is pleased to present, Deck, a new exhibition by Claire Halpin.

Stemming from the artist’s habit picking up playing cards she has found over many years, Deck is a snapshot in time and place of a collection largely amassed on the streets of Dublin 1. 

Making her own rules however, the collection spans continents. Every card has a back story, real and imagined. In different states of repair and decay, the cards are annotated with whatever biro or marker was closest to hand with where and when each one was found before being added to the chart cataloguing and mapping the collection in an attempt to complete a full deck. How can so many cards have been mislaid? Were they up someone's sleeve? Thrown away in a losing streak? Did they simply blow away? Each card represents a redundant pack from whence they came.

In 17 years working in the area I'm not sure I've seen anyone playing cards on the street.  In Claire's short commute from her home in Summerhill to her studio in Talbot Street, finding cards and adding them to her collection, became almost ritualistic. For this exhibition Claire has chosen not only to fill the windows of the Cube space at the LAB with these cards but also invites audiences to listen to the stories she's collected of varying “house rules" for old favourites and games previously unknown to her. The very act of installing the show in the window has led to heated debates about rules with passers by, some of whom were subsequently recorded at the card table in the exhibition.

Claire Halpin's work explores themes and concepts around contested territories and histories through painting, video and installation. Recently acquired by IMMA, a common concern across her work is an interest in perception and interpretation of images.  Her work raises questions about how we choose to record history and the veracity of painting, photography, and the media in documenting future history.

This exhibition captures the artist’s personal experience on her daily journey to make the paintings for which she is best known while drawing on her fascination with cultural exchange, storytelling and social fabric. 

Artists’ Biog

Claire Halpin is a Dublin born and based artist, curator and arts educator.

In 2021, IMMA/ Irish Museum of Modern Art acquired three works from the Jigmap Series for the IMMA Collection. They are currently on exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Chapter Four of The Narrow Gate of the Here and Now: Protest and Conflict at IMMA until November 2022.

Since graduating Claire has exhibited widely in group exhibitions in Ireland and internationally including – 191st Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, Dublin 2021, Highlanes Open Submission 2020, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda; 38th EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial, Limerick City 2018 (Curator Inti Guerrero); Cáirde Visual, The Model, Sligo 2019; Utopia Dystopia, dlr Open Exhibition, Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon, Dún Laoghaire, 2019; Drawing on Don Quixote, Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin; Leinster Printmakers 20 years, National Touring Exhibition, Ireland 2019; Sculpture in Context 2019, Botanic Gardens, Dublin; Water Tower Art Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria and The Bulgarians are coming, Standpoint Gallery, London.

In 2018 Claire was shortlisted for the prestigious Savills Art Prize at VUE Art Fair, RHA Dublin and in 2017 won the dlr Open Award at the Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon.

Claire’s recent solo exhibitions include Raw War (2019) and Glomar Response (2016) at Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin, Reconstructions at Talbot Gallery in 2011 and at Droichead Arts Centre in 2012. Other solo exhibitions include: Tabula Rasa at Cavan County Museum (2011),  Anaesthetic Aesthetics at Rua Red, Tallaght (2010), Always Now at Talbot Gallery, Dublin (2008), Eidetic Amalgams at Basement Gallery, Dundalk (2006) and at Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, and Model Arts Centre, Sligo.

Claire is represented by Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin with solo exhibitions at the gallery – Glomar Response (2016) followed by Raw War (2019) and forthcoming solo exhibition in September 2022.


Claire’s paintings are included in many national, university, corporate and private collections in Ireland and abroad including IMMA/ Irish Museum of Modern Art Collection, O.P.W State Collection, Trinity College Art Collection, TU Dublin, University Art Collection, Louth County Council Collection, Cavan County Council Collection, Imago Mundi, Benetton International Art Collection, AXA Insurance, A.I.B Art Collection, The Four Seasons Hotel, Clarion Hotels, Blackrock Hospice Foundation, Smirnoff Collection.

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