Lauren Gault’s exhibition, Galalith, is an expanded staging of her sculptural installations, responding to Temple Bar Gallery + Studios internal gallery space and the building’s external, environmental context.
Galalith incorporates sunlight caught by a street facing solar panel, a threaded assemblage featuring unused galalith (1) stock, recycled rubber safety surfacing, large scale suspended sculpture and a human/non human soundscape (solar controlled).
Collaborations have been central to this exhibition, with Gault and independent feminist curator Katherine Murphy working with the National Museum of Ireland to access bog butter (2) samples and a Viking ‘toggle’ artefact. This toggle example, found in nearby Fishamble Street, depicts the mythical wolf ‘Fenrir’ devouring the sun at the end of the world. Initially read as a ‘canine with ball’, the symbolism and mythology within this piece denotes both a benign act of domesticated play, and fraught environmental and non-human tensions. This artefact was researched along with contemporary ‘monster wolves’ - solar powered, robotic scarecrows which act as wildlife deterrents through the production of sound and a ‘wolfish’ appearance (3).
Ireland has a rich lupine history - garnering the nickname ‘Wolf Land’ in the early 17th century, as well as its iconic wolf-hound breed and prospective re-wilding policies of today. These histories continue to circularly evolve, with our increase in demand for domestic canine pets, set against rising livestock and sheep worrying - a complex oscillation between domestication and wildness, of the controlled and unboundaried.
Drawing from and combining these reference points, a specifically designed solar panel was developed with the Solar Energy Applications Group at Trinity College. This panel and its attached technology acts as a controller for the internal sound work, volumetrically shifting with the levels of solar energy present across each day. Rather than acting as a deterrent, these sounds are invitational - featuring calls produced by ‘speaking’ and barking ravens, howling wolf-dogs, sounds from the sun, and frequencies only detectable by the non-human.
This film is by TBG+S studio artist, Jenny Brady, in collaboration with exhibiting artist Lauren Gault and curator Katherine Murphy. Sound by Richy Carey (sections taken from extended soundwork in the exhibition).
Jenny Brady is an artist filmmaker based in Dublin, exploring ideas around speech, translation, and communication. Her films have been presented at LUX, the New York Film Festival, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, MUBI, International Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, EMAF, Videonale, BFI London Film Festival, Images Festival, the Irish Film Institute, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, TENTEVA International, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Project Arts Centre, The Whitechapel gallery, and Tate Liverpool. Her works are distributed by LUX, and she is a studio artist at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin.
(1) galalith γάλα (gala, "milk") and λῐ́θος (lithos, "stone") is a synthetic plastic material manufactured from the interaction of the protein ‘casein’ in milk and formaldehyde. Galalith was predominantly used in the production of objects which involved close human touch and bodily proximity, for example within jewellery and button production, pens, piano keys, combs, tokens, and plectrums. It is biodegradable, non-allergenic and virtually non-flammable. The galalith within this exhibition was sourced as unused stock from circa 1940-50 (sun damaged, un-worked rods and blanks); as well as some newly manufactured stock - currently used as an alternative to contemporary, oil based plastics.
(2) bog butter - a fatty substance, usually dairy in origin, which has been buried and preserved, then found and resurfaced, in peat bogs in Ireland and Scotland. This practice dates back 3,500 years, with samples in Ireland dating from the first century CE. Often accidentally unearthed by farmers and turf cutters, this substance can appear uncannily fresh, emerging preserved from the peat bogs’ stable micro climate and into a new, current time. The bog butter form reproduced in this exhibition is from the townland Corlea in Co.Monaghan, accessed from the NMI stores, scanned and 3D printed into stone-like solidity.
(3) Kuebiko is the Shinto deity of knowledge and agriculture. Often represented as a scarecrow which cannot move yet has a comprehensive awareness of the world, Kuebiko is a Japanese word which refers to fatigue generated by senseless violence. A spectral figure in the exhibition, Kuebiko is used to open up dialogue around environmental agency, shared feelings of potential loss/grief and the complexities of our evolving agri-relationships.