Dublin, Ireland : 1979

Installed for the duration of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art at the Douglas Hyde Gallery.


12 square mirrors – each topped with a rubber pigeon – punctuated the length of the room, placed in accordance with the spacing of the  gallery’s squared tiled carpet. Visitors to the gallery stood in close proximity to the work, resulting in damage to one of the mirrors. The work was awarded a Carroll Prize.

‘Carpet tiles were displaced by mirror tiles. Pigeons appeared as birds but were clearly substitutes, fakes. The idea of a thing posing, standing for something else, supervenes perceivable differences between the mirrors and the pigeons. Moreover the strategy of displacement is a comment on Minimalism, and the strategy of standing for something else is a comment on a theoretical debate of that time, concerning a blunt adaptation of semiology onto visual arts.

The possibility of chance ‘interference’ – when one tile got broken – provided a clearer link to at least two Dada strategies: namely “epater le bourgeois” and “humour”.’

Text from ‘Alastair MacLennan: Is No’, ed. Stephen Snoddy, 1988.