an atom bomb in each morsel of life
June 15 - September 05 2023
The title of the exhibition derives from the feminist theorist and physicist, Karen Barad who reminds us that the radiation of the nuclear age made its way into the tiny cells that make up bodies – globally. Barad’s provocation that there is an atom-bomb inside each morsel of life shakes up our ability to differentiate scales – and haunts us. Earth, particle physics, biology, technology and nature, were joined to the human experience in a new way by our creation of the atom bomb.
Sankey’s exhibition of the same name uses this phrase to bring to light a key purpose and impetus in her own practice. After this point where humans have penetrated every living cell on the planet our relationship with the world and matter is different. Sankey’s practice is a questioning of our position in relation to the others we live among.
‘My practice evolves with these unanswerable questions about the effects of human technologies on organisms, and resulting mutations, epi-genetics, trauma. My practice explores our ‘entanglement’ with our surroundings and the effects of our actions on a vast and minute scale.’
Sankey’s installations engage with the viewer’s spatial and personal perception. Sankey reworks and recreates space; offering alternative ways to experience and reflect on presence, participation and scale. An important aspect of her practice is its hand-made humble materiality. Her sculpture uses living plant tissue and human supply lines to engage in the geo-feminist conversation about what we gouge and suck out of the planet. It examines mutation and the human extractive machine of supply and power in a multi-species context.
“I am interested in engaging with the energy of things that are very near oblivion - or close to the point of becoming a grain of geological time. For example fallen trees from local parks and plumbing from scrap yards – other found and fallen objects - elements that make up our built environment; plants, and trees, plumbing, domestic modules. It’s from this angle that I prefer to look upon our world, at how we are living on our planet.”
About the artist
Katherine Sankey (born in Paris, France) grew up between Sydney, Belfast and Paris and has been based in Dublin, Ireland since 1997. Her recent exhibitions include SANKEY | WALKER a solo/collaborative exhibition with Corban Walker at The Dock, PALLAS P/S AIP and RUA RED. Selected group exhibitions include ‘Worlds of Their Own’ PLATFORM 21, 4 person show at Draíocht, Blanchardstown; ‘Woman in the Machine’, Visual, Carlow. She was invited artist in 190th RHA Annual Exhibition (2020), RUA RED Winter Show (won the Solo Award), TULCA – ‘Tactical Magic’. She has a forthcoming two person exhibition with Anna Macloud at Sth Tipperary Arts Centre in 2024. Her solo exhibition, ‘Conscious’, will open at The RHA Ashford Gallery in October.
Sankey was recipient of the Fire Station Artists’ Studios Sculpture Award in 2020 and gave a ‘Plinth Politics’ lecture at the Royal Hibernian Academy. In 2021 & 22 Sankey received the Arts Council of Ireland Bursary. Also in 2021, she received the Agility Award, the DCC Visual Art Bursary and her sculpture was acquired by the Arts Council of Ireland Collection and is in private collections in Ireland and Europe.
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Photo credit: Paul McCarthy