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

+353 1 222 5455

Past Exhibition

To swallow a ball

Vanessa Donoso Lopez

September 09 - November 07 2016

In her practice, Vanessa Donoso Lòpez explores the forces of contemporary migration.  As part of our ongoing Art & Ecology programme, a partnership between Dublin City Council Arts Office and our colleagues in Parks and Biodiversity, we invited Vanessa to consider the importance of soil.  Her research included visits to Bull Island, part of the UNESCO Biosphere in Dublin bay.

As a resident of Dublin for over a decade, born in Barcelona, Vanessa’s work relates migration to ideas of transitional phenomena, language, crossed cultural identity, adult homesickness and compatibility between cultures.  We are delighted to have Martí Manen, Stockholm based Spanish curator and art critic to write about the work.  

In an age of rapid growth of global interconnectivity, individual identification, attachment to place, political and sociocultural ways of being are continuously affected. In the process of change and movement, a sense of belonging becomes more relevant to us as individuals and as citizens of the world. Vanessa has been mining the ground beneath her feet in both Ireland and Spain for clay as a material for this exhibition creating a very particular relationship with place. At each place, including the park beside the LAB on Foley Street, the process of digging and making has led to discussions with people surprised by the possibilities of clay. This exploration of our relationship to soil, clay and our earliest forms of written communication is a work still in progress for the artist. During the exhibition a series of events will provide opportunities for audiences to discover the processes involved in making clay with the artist and learn more about soil and composting with our biodiversity team.

In this time of immense change in our world, To Swallow a Ball presents different methodologies as coping strategies and a means to aid comprehension and facilitate communication, while reconnecting with the earth beneath our feet.


Vanessa Donoso López (born Barcelona, Spain) lives and works in Dublin. She studied at the School of Arts and Design Llotja, Barcelona, the University of Barcelona and the Winchester College of Art, UK.

She has exhibited nationally and internationally with recent selected solo exhibitions including: 'Eye before E except after seeING Stockholm' Supermarket Independent Art Fair, with the Ormston House, Stockholm, Sweden,  'Eye before E except after see', Limerick City Gallery, Limerick, and 'Daily disagreements over small things', Kevin Kavanagh Gallery at the  Barcelona Contemporary art fair SWAB, Barcelona, 'A painful excess of pleasure', Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, 'Jouissanc'e, Madame la Marquise, Barcelona,' it never rains to everybody’s taste', Queen St. Studios and Gallery, Belfast, 'the rain in spain falls mainly of the plane', Barcelona, Spain,' Scientifico-experimental-techno-color-movement', M’ATUVU Project Space, Brussels, Belgium,' Establishing a Mission' at the Ashford Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. 'Group shows include Death Driv'e, Galway Arts Centre,' I want to be your dog', The Glue Factory, Glasgow, '40/40/40', Madrid, Rome, Warsaw and Dulbin and' Precaution' at Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

She is currently working on her new solo shows in Candyland Gallery, Stockholm and The SummerHall in Edinburgh, both in 2017.  She is also currently working on a public art work  commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland to be presented in June 2017. 

She was awarded a studio residency at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2012, a Sculpture Workshop Residency Award and Bursary at the Firestation Artists Studios in 2014 and a year project studio at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios. Vanessa holds a three year studio membership at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and is represented by Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin.


Vanessa will be doing a drop in clay workshop as part of CULTURE NIGHT on Friday 16th of September 2016, between 5pm - 8pm.

Vanessa Donoso Lopez

Photographs by Peter Varga

Past Exhibitions



Cecilia Bullo, Ella Bertilsson, Hannah Ní Mhaonaigh

February 01 - March 23 2024

Twice Steps, Twice

Twice Steps, Twice

Lorraine Elder, Breege Fahy, Laura Flood, Madeleine Hadd, Aisling McConville, Sorcha McNamara, Padraig Sinnott, Emer Wang

December 13 - January 06 2024

Shahid شَـاهِد

Shahid شَـاهِد

Diaa Lagan and Basil Al-Rawi

September 15 - December 04 2023