I’m looking forward to the sixth knot of Colm Cille’s Spiral, which moves to Dublin to reinterpret his legacy and influence through the theme “The Object”. The commission links curatorial, artistic, historian and archeological practice.


Although Dublin is not directly linked to Colm Cille, many of objects related to Colm Cille have returned to the capital Irish city and have become relics and monuments to the Saint. What is interesting about the objects is that many of them are books and manuscripts, which Colm Cille intended as a means of sharing knowledge. However, many of these books are hidden away from the public eye. One of the objects is the Cathach or “battle book”, the story of which was controversial as it was famously copied from Finnian and a battle ensued. There have many stories, interpretations and superstitions connected to this book and it seems this is where a space for artistic interpretation lies.


The Cathach


Derry is also a place where objects are personified and hold memory. The Colm Cille’s Spiral final exhibition is coinciding with ‘A history of Derry in 100 objects’ allowing the objects to tell their story and preserves people and events safekeeping personal meaning and symbolism.


These medieval objects raise many questions that remain unanswered, they invite a re-telling. This space of mystery is where the artist, Tracy Hanna will bridge the gap. Having looked at past works from Tracey Hanna gives me an insight into what she’ll create for the Dublin commission. Her work is site specific and engages with the narrative surrounding the objects. She has chosen to use natural elements such as peat, reminiscent of the tale of Colmcille returning to Ireland walking on peats of Scottish soil as he had vowed never to step on Irish land again and the connection of land to our heritage.


“Rockstars” Tracey Hanna, 2012


The cut peat and mirror installation which will be shrouded in darkness invites us to look and think about forms, the act of seeing and portals of time. Peat has a preservative nature and is often used to preserve bodies and makes reference to Colm Cille’s ancestors and a fiction surrounding them. The senses are important to the experience, the tactile nature of the objects used, sight sound and familiarity to create a narrative and experiential piece. I like her sense of materiality, how she balances using natural materials and metaphorical objects alongside modern technologies, displacing them from their original setting to present a re-contextualised and fragmented story.


‘Tracy Hanna’s exhibition begins on 7 Nov’ I think it should say that

The project will launch on Wed 13th November and Tracy Hanna’s installation in St. Mary’s Abbey and will be on view during walking tours from 14th Nov.

Walking tours dates are Thursday 14th, Friday 15th, Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd November.

Seminar 21st November