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

+353 1 222 5455

Past Exhibition

Water - More or Less

Marie Hanlon

October 18 - December 21 2021

Water is essential to life but are we paying attention to the changing conditions which now threaten it?


Marie Hanlon’s exhibition at The Lab comprises six installations, each addresses an aspect of water stress: flooding, drought, desalination, industrial contamination, seasonal shortages and the unappealing realities of water treatment.


With world population predicted to reach 9.7 billion by mid-century, demands on water may surpass available supply. Earth’s water is finite, it is unevenly distributed and unequally shared. Radioactive contamination from fracking is reducing water reserves, climate change is bringing extremes of flooding and drought and nature’s water cycle is under pressure – yet we remain unperturbed about water.


When Water Becomes Explosive is the central installation in the exhibition. It draws attention to the processes of fossil fuel extraction where water at high pressure is used to explode rock deep in the earth. The artwork’s nine-squared structure is appropriated from an American ball game called ‘Nine Square in the Air’; vertical and horizontal tubes reference extractive drilling. The artwork highlights the dominance of the oil industry, especially in America. Oil is prized and water is rendered toxic. The artwork suggests the idea that over time the value of these substances may be reversed.


Water Table presents a long table with seven water tanks; a full tank at one end, an empty  one at the other. The piece addresses fluctuations in rainfall experienced across the globe. An accompanying soundwork by composer Rhona Clarke generates aural images; heavy rainfall reducing to a trickle, followed by evocations of dry, parched, waterless places.


Cut Off is an installation of taps with knotted plexiglass flows. This work alludes to the precarious condition of domestic water supply in Ireland. We are now experiencing longer summer droughts, our infrastructure is outdated and our population is increasing – domestic water is under pressure.


Other works in the exhibition deal with flooding and water treatment, with recycled wastewater a future possibility in Ireland. In the upper gallery a research piece on desalination is combined with a small artwork in the form of a silver bullet – its glass capsule contains desalinated water from the Irish Sea.


As a venue The Lab tends to support experimental work by emerging artists. Although an established artist, Marie Hanlon’s new work may be seen to fit comfortably in this category. This is a new subject matter delivered in the form of sculptural installation – a notable departure for the artist. The exhibition occupies all spaces at The Lab and will mark a defining moment in Marie Hanlon’s career.


Curated by Sheena Barrett

Exibition open: October 18th - December 21st.

Gallery opening times: Mon – Sun, 10 am - 6 pm.

Admission free, no booking required.


For further information, book launch details and other events related to the exhibition please contact: The Lab Gallery | Dublin City Arts Office,1 Foley St Dublin 1 D01 WA07. Tel:  (01) 222 5455 

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