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Composition


The little dress is displayed on a glass shelf above eye level so that the viewer can see inside. The pins that hold the berries in place stick through to the inside. This creates a contradiction between the purpose of a dress – to keep a child warm – and the injuries that might be inflicted by the pins.


Colour


The relationship between the vermillion red of the painted dress and the original red of the rosehip berries is changing over time as the berries wither.


Style


Fig. 7.24 Cassandra’s Necklace, 2013, video installation by Alice Maher (still from the video), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin


Cassandra’s Necklace (Fig. 7.24), a two-screen video installation, was specially commissioned. It is a collaborative work based on a script for a play by Anne Enright. Music was composed by Trevor Knight, it was filmed by Vivienne Dick and edited by Connie Farrell. It runs for 7.5 minutes.


The Cassandra in the title was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. She was admired by the god Apollo, who gave her the gift of prophesy. Cassandra annoyed Apollo, so he cursed her that her prophesies would not be believed. The lambs’ tongues worn round the neck of the actress in the video illustrate the stilled tongue of the prophetess, useless for speech because she will not be believed.


Maher’s work is in collections around the world. The wide range of her practice gives her the freedom to express ideas in any number of ways.


Berry Dress Subject


This appears to be a child’s dress with berries attached (Fig. 7.25).


Fig. 7.25 Berry Dress, 1994, by Alice Maher, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin


CHAPTER 7: IRISH ART IN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES 143


There is no particular style in a work like this. It is a conceptual piece, where the ideas or the thoughts provoked in the viewer are more important than the physical presence of the work.


ART IN IRELAND


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