The first thing you notice when you approach the sculptural work of Siobhán Hapaska, is the dry, loamy smell of dirt and tree that fills the space.
Downfall’ is a dried out olive tree hovering horizontally above two trays – one contains its leaves, the other some of the soil that used to cling to its roots. Being an evergreen tree with a robust root system, the unusual death of the plant suggests an unnatural force at work, hinting at historical and contemporary Middle Eastern references. It is a poignant exploration of territory, abundance and death – how they intermix and affect each other.
Perhaps it is a cunning bit of artistic manipulation on Siobhán Hapaska’s part. It is impossible not to linger, breathing in the tree or resisting the urge to give a little nudge, and once you do it’s impossible not to think. ‘As such it continues an ongoing interest of the artist in movement, dislocation, collision, travel and change’ and temptation. Hapaska works with invertions: she takes systems that we often trustingly take for granted and dissects them, suspends them in time, so that we may walk around them, permitting their fleshiness to captivate us, but never allowing us to touch.
She is an internationally renowned sculptor from Belfast, graduate of Goldsmith’s College, London (1992) and has consistently exhibited in major exhibitions internationally.