Niamh McCann works by drawing together many different reference points and distilling them into a kind of sculptural poetry. References include photos of the 1969 moon landings with the Copernicus crater as a backdrop, advertising images of Aer Lingus from the 1950s and 60s, and the work of engineering pioneer Buckminister Fuller.
Her most recent works have found creative play in the study of the life and times of a lesser established Bauhaus architect, Hans Poelzig, celebrated in the 1930's Hollywood feature The Black Cat and whose character was played by Boris Karloff. Hans Poelzig (1869-1936) is best known for the design of Frankfurt’s IG Farben building and the sets for the iconic film Der Golem. The Poelzig Complex/IG Farben HQ building is now used by the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany and was for 20 years Europe's largest office building. It is also the nexus of many historical threads from the production of the deadly Zyklon B to the writing of The Marshall Plan. Suddenly we are into the layered adaptation and appropriation of a romanticised version of a half imaginary, half real contributor to early modernism.
This exhibition unites these disparate influences by exploring the idealism they represented in their original incarnations and the ways in which, over time, they have become overlaid with different narratives, stories and meanings. McCann’s interest is in this interweaving of fact and fiction, the overlapping layers of narrative, history and fable that are contained within the cultural and physical structures that we construct.
Watch our Meet the Artist video with Niamh McCann.