Galway International Arts Festival and Galway 2020 present

Mirror Pavilion by John Gerrard

DATE 28 August - 18 September 2021 | 9am - 9pm
LOCATION Derrigimlagh Bog, Connemara
CREDITS John Gerrard
Ros Kavanagh

Mirror Pavilion by John Gerrard commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway’s European Capital of Culture 2020.


The Pavilion is a beautiful and striking structure, with three sides and the roof clad in a highly reflective mirror and the fourth wall a high–resolution LED wall. Mirror Pavilion premiered during Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 with Corn Work at the Claddagh Quay in Galway. This year, Mirror Pavilion will host a new artwork, Leaf Work, which will unfold on the LED screen presented in the spectacular 4,000–year–old Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara throughout Galway International Arts Festival 2021.

Mirror Pavilion by John Gerrard is a response to the escalating climate crisis and fearlessly pushes the boundaries of digital art using simulation. Gerrard has taken digital technology, usually employed by the commercial gaming industry, to create virtual worlds that simulate extremely detailed and authentic landscapes. The characters and landscapes we see on the LED screen may look like video or film but they are not; they hover in what the artist describes as the ‘slippery space’ between the real and the unreal. These two astonishingly real virtual worlds are meticulously constructed by digital means by the artist, a team of modellers, and programmers. This world unveiling will be a dazzling moment on the Irish landscape.

Leaf Work

Derrigimlagh Bog, Connemara

28 August – 18 September 2021

Leaf Work, located at Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara, presents a lone melancholy virtual figure on the LED screen of the Mirror Pavilion, clad in oak leaves. Derrigimlagh Bog was the transmission site for the first transatlantic radio signal from the Marconi station in 1907 and the landing place for Alcock and Brown’s first ever transatlantic plane crossing in 1919.

The leaf character here performs a lament for the effects of these and many other accelerating human technologies upon non–human worlds. She walks a slow simple circle within a choreography based on the position of the sun. Her sorrow is the antithesis of the dynamism and confidence of Corn Work.

Image Credit Ros Kavanagh

Filmed by Colm Hogan & Kevin Smith

Edited by Moose Video Production

Filmed by Colm Hogan & Kevin Smith

Edited by Moose Video Production

Corn Work

Claddagh Quay, Galway

3–26 September, 2020

Corn Work was located by the River Corrib at Claddagh Quay from 3–26 September, 2020

Corn Work recalled histories of grain milling in Galway and the strong flow of water which provided a sustainable clean energy source for the city’s now dismantled flour mills.

Four folk figures, the Straw Boys, remade virtually, performed a symbolic wheel of production on the LED wall in the work. Changing with the seasons, they commemorated attitudes toward agriculture and the landscape that existed prior to the petroleum derived methods widely implemented today. The powerful coordinated turns of Corn Work provide a mirror image to Leaf Work in Connemara.

John Gerrard

John Gerrard is best known for his large–scale and site– specific works. His sculptures, which usually take the form of digital simulations, have been installed in both high–pro le urban spaces such as Lincoln Center Plaza [New York] and Somerset House [London] and in geographically isolated locations such as Coachella Valley Desert [California].

His work has featured at the Venice Biennale while the Museum of Modern Art [New York] has recently acquired one of his major works for its collection.


Image credit Julia Dunin

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