Selected for MAC International 2014

MAC International 2014

MAC International is the MAC’s first ever open arts prize, offering professional artists worldwide the opportunity to exhibit in the MAC.

A substantial prize of £20,000 will be awarded to one artist deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the exhibition.  This is the largest art prize in Ireland and one of the few major prizes in the UK.

The exhibition, which runs across all three MAC galleries, will offer you the very best in contemporary visual art across all art forms including sculpture, painting, photography, film, installation and performance.

MAC International will build on the innovative visual art practice built up by the MAC and will offer a similar experience to the Turner Prize in Derry-Londonderry as part of 2013’s City of Culture.

A jury of respected international curators have whittled down over 1,000 entries to the final shortlist of exhibiting artists. The winner of the £20k prize will be announced on 30 October at the MAC.

Proposal for MAC International 2014

We have been working together since 2011 and have made three linked exhibitions. Dependent Rational Animals was at Towner in Eastbourne in the summer of 2013.

For MAC International we would like to show a small ceramic sculpture, Monachos, together with a simple geometric painting from floor to ceiling on the gallery wall.

In Simone Martini’s Annunciation , Gabriel’s words to Mary are written upside-down, apparently so that God could read them. Monachos comes from the Greek, meaning alone, but the term now more usually refers to the monastic life. As in the Simone Martini painting where architecture (the architecture of the panel as well as the architectural imagery within the painting) provide a frame for action (radiating, announcing, revealing), we aim to produce a dynamic yet contained relationship within and between the elements of our works in the gallery.

Constructed at the Europaen Keramic Work Centre (ekwc) in Netherlands, Monachos was made as an experiment with allowing porcelain to do what it is rarely allowed to: bulge and crack in the kiln. The individual blocks are slip cast porcelain, fired initially to make them hard enough to build with. The blocks were then constructed into the final, form, using a quickly-built shelter or bunker as the loose reference. Glaze was painted between them so that they would be fused together on the second firing. The complete structure was deliberately fired too fast and too hot so that the blocks distorted and cracked. The work’s final form represents a truce between the materials – the porcelain’s urge to distort constrained by the rigid, glazed seams between the blocks.

The wall painting will be more architectural than pictorial, a field of colour made up from small repetitive brush-strokes, with reference to the tradition of the directional “Light” of epiphanies, annunciations and revelations. The contradictory tendancies of materials in Monachos is further developed through a geometric and architectural use of watercolour, the most fragile and luminous of paints.

There are images and information on our previous projects on our blog at

We would like to use this opportunity to try out a simpler (because more concise) syntax between the works.