You have a complex way of looking at memory in relation to death. Your images and sculptures seem to be packaged in a structured or scientific manner. Can you elaborate?
I guess it comes from my parent’s vocations they are both doctors. And possibly the work of Polly Morgan and Matt Collishaw. Theses two forces would have had a considerable impact on my practice and finished results.
What was your intention as your audience walked into the black gallery space?
My intention was to destabilize the viewer and yet create a place of solitude and comfort. It was there to force the audience into a very sensory experience of the self. Where one becomes very aware of their presence in the room from movement, to ones own breathing and, to the positioning of one to the next person in the room.
What did you learn about yourself on the journey to your thesis show?
“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” — Oscar Wilde
Is this how you see death?
I think that this can be one way to fantasize on the idea, however death to me changes so much from day to day it is undetermined what it is, I rather look at life instead. I would rather begin to establish a basis of living for the moment over looking to the end, as Friedrich Nietzsche said “and when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze long into you”, we can spend too long gazing into the great unknown of what death might be, I think we should be able to sit with it but only so long as to show respect. Life is for the living, not for the dead.
There were two small little webbed feet on the ceiling. Can you give more insight to the great mystery?
Death is the greatest mystery of all; it is ever present and never understood.
Any wise words for MFA 1st year students?
Be supportive and constructive. I think that stands as a whole not just to first years of this program.
What’s next for Cian O’Donoghue?
For more about Cian O’Donoghue visit: