The Boundaries Between Us Endure

The Boundaries Between Us Endure is performed by Aisling Ennis (Harp), Peter Power (Various), David Mathúna (Interactive Visuals) and Sophie Gough (Objects) by The Sparsile Collective.

Monoprints by Sophie Gough.
Single editions.
21cm x 29.7cm.

For sale at

Corresponding text by Peter Power.

Event & Installation Photography by Jed Niezgoda.

Sophie Gough

Untitled (grounded and floating), 2019 Brass rods, polymer resin, salvaged Styrofoam inserts

This work is a mediation around our contradictory material culture. Composed of equal lengths of brass rods and collected styrofoam inserts it centres around the attempt to fuse things suggestive of a temporary nature and that with a sense of momentary permanence. It takes the form of a kind of raised level of rubble, a kind of suspended flooring unsure of its whereabouts. It hints at feelings of instability and provisionary supports within this undefined zone..A floating territory in which a kind of ruination is evident.

For some time now, I find myself drawn to objects that exist for provisional, ancillary almost functions… these things.. Often discarded as detritus moments after its single use. Through my representation of them exploiting an uncomfortable beauty, I hope to question what, why and how we validate certain objects over another. Having spent some time living and working in New York, where excessiveness and waste is inescapable, collecting various components of packing materials and other objects of transient uses became a daily activity of mine. Soon the premade architectural forms of the styrofoam inserts became these objects that I was drawn to. Through collecting and looking , they became these things of poetic affection for me.

All matter, I believe has a kind of vitality and now more than ever in these uncertain ecological, economic and political climates we need to become more materialistic now more than ever before and maintain an appreciation and care for all things. My work can often embody this attempt to activate a kind of sympathy for the objects and materials that I present.

Of course I have become very aware of this recent development within my sculptural practice through which I have started to employ and rearrange found objects. The anonymity and lack of the hand of the maker is evident. However, changing these objects in very subtle, yet intimate ways becomes a key part of the process to me. By adding small patches of energy efficient resin coatings, it reclaims some of that intimacy that develops as I collect them, acting as quiet hints of intimacy and ownership. In making collections you develop these strange attachments to objects, so these subtle interventions of applying coatings…such a gesture allows me to have a secret claim to them…Almost a nod to the objects themselves as if to say I’m letting go of them, but they’ll be missed! Comparatively though, this lack of preciousness and permanent ownership is also something that’s very important to me.

Exhibiting opportunities in idyllic white cube spaces do not come by very often, the very nature of this impermanent and temporary aura in the work is a reflection of or solution to addressing and working in this creative space that we are almost forced into in order to get by… This pop up gallery culture that seeks to satisfy the insatiable art-as-experience appetite. More often than not, this for me breeds a kind of non-archival ( and thus non-sellable ) attribute to the work .It is often instantly removed and recycled or thrown out almost immediately after the event for which it was created. That .. or it is remade into a whole new work. What does that say about me, its maker and destroyer?

Peter Power

The Boundaries Between Us Endure represents to me a bittersweet moment. In it lies the end of my two year residency in the National Sculpture Factory and the beginnings of my new position as Artist - in - Residence in the Cork Midsummer Festival. The Sculpture Factory saw something in me when I came to them asking for a place to try, to explore, to fail, to risk, to not know. A multi-disciplinary artist, my main focus was in music and sound and live event. As a space dedicated to the Visual Arts, I didn’t think for a second they would understand me; namely because at the time I didn’t understand myself.

And yet here I am, occupying this building with the concerns of this work, fully realised and supported by them and the festival. Boundaries is of course an abstracted piece, but one that for me is deeply emotional and felt. Being within the confines of a factory space this last two years, witnessing how things are made and unmade, and how our relationship as a species with materials goes through political journeys, I could not help but be confronted by the meanings of Industry and the distances within us it has created. The ideas of the factory, the industrial space, the invitation to begin and end things in the open floor of the NSF has haunted me as my time ends here. What is it we are doing with Art? Why are we making anything in the face of the eminence of climate violence? How can we have reached a point where industry has overwhelmed consequence? I have more questions than answers, no polemic point to make, but I want to acknowledge it in the work, I want to own the liminal lines between things being made and unmade, living and dying, for consumption, for ease, for art, for science, for us.

I have been followed by the images of Abattoir and Triage. How those on the front line of mechanised industry cope. Places where scale can overwhelm morality. I wonder at that in regards to the factory. The factory floor. A killing floor. The sodden horror, young men immune, older like veterans, hunched over evacuating themselves in buckets. What Art do we make here? Uncomfortable for some time in the landscape of validated Irish Export-Art, I was drawn to the Harp as an instrument, an object, subjected to and subsumed by the political will of a nation. A manufactured mechanical marvel, bound in intimate relationships with it’s performers and yet stolen in its image by booze pedlars and divisive plastic politicians. Married with analog and digital technology, the interplay between these worlds sonically is the entirety of the musical world.

Themes of the permanence of our creations are playing in my mind, the fallacy of legacy and yet the permanent aftermath of consequenceless consumption. The beauty in discarded materials, the attempt to discover deeper meaning in the transparency of these things, the uses that are repurposing them, the attempt to convert them into raw materials again aesthetically and philosophically and reformat them away from seeming like pure discarded otherness.

But away from all of this, it is the effect of being disconnected from one another, through contemporary ceremony and living, that the work hinges on. Even in shared space, in collective acts, we will struggle to find one another, to be with one another, in a world that sees us as merely consumers of creation.

Creative Team

Concept and Direction by Peter Power
Vision and Design by Peter Power and Sophie Gough
Design Realisation led by Sophie Gough with David Dobz O’Brien, Dominic Fee,
Sean McGuill and Don Cronin.
Developed in Association with the Creative Team

Music by Peter Power

Sculpture by Sophie Gough
Video Design by David Mathúna
Lighting Design by Sarah Jane Shiels
Sound Design by Peter Power
Styling by Izabelle Balikoeva

Production Managed by David Dobz O’Brien
Line Produced by Conal O’Riain
Chief LX by Hanan Sheedy
PA Engineer and Bespoke Audio System by Vince at 5flowerpower
Marketing and Design by Stephanie Power
Video by Epic
Photography by Jed Niezgoda and Marion Solheim

Director of National Sculpture Factory Valerie Byrne
Acting Technical Manager Dominic Fee

Produced by the National Sculpture Factory, the Cork Midsummer Festival, and the Sparsile Collective.

Generously supported by the Cork City Arts Office.