Exhibition in Justus Lipsius
Decorating the Council building, Justus Lipsius
The Justus Lipsius building in Brussels is the headquarters of the Council of the European Union. It has become a tradition for the rotating Presidency to decorate the building, by presenting an art installation in the atrium, and decorating and furnishing the foyer and Presidential Suite.
From January to June 2013, the Irish Presidency’s decoration of the Justus Lipsius will highlight Ireland’s innovative use both of new technologies and of traditional materials. It has been undertaken by Culture Ireland and by the Crafts Council of Ireland.
The art installation chosen by Ireland for the atrium is Skylum, designed by award-winning artist Andrew Kearney. Suspended ten metres above the atrium, Skylum is a large inflatable with its own internal lighting source, which makes maximum use of new technologies. Its title comes from the artist’s aim to create an alternative sky within the Atrium space.
Using sophisticated computer programmes, Skylum reacts to people as they walk underneath: the installation is constantly changing and reacting, both in light and sound. Included in the soundscape is Filleadh ar an gCathair, the selected poem for the Presidency, read in Irish by the poet Ailbhe Ni Ghearbuigh
Each individual visitor will create their own unique response to the artwork.Skylum is designed to reflect the unique movements of people across the EU. And, as Ireland is a country renowned for the creation of stories and narratives, the artist also wanted to present an installation which would allow each person to create their own unique story. Over the course of the six months of Ireland’s EU Presidency, each of the up to 2000 people who pass through the atrium each day will have a different experience of Skylum.
‘A Place to Gather’
The Crafts Council of Ireland will also furnish and decorate the foyer space in the Justus Lipsius building with an exhibition of work from over thirty of Ireland’s leading craftspeople.
The area is transformed into a literary salon, with handcrafted bookshelves and furniture, alongside an impressive selection of Irish literature and decorative craft pieces for visitors to enjoy. Ireland Literature Exchange, which promotes Irish writing internationally, has also donated a large number of books by Irish writers in translation.
With a large central table and chairs, floor covering, sofas and lighting, this design marks a departure from that of previous Presidencies. Its aim is to engage staff and visitors with the Irish books and craft on display.
The layout of the installation is designed to frame the stained glass window – a permanent central feature of the foyer – which was designed by Irish artist James Scanlon in the 1990s.
The Presidential Suite
The Presidential Suite, also curated by the Crafts Council of Ireland, displays contemporary furniture in materials such as bog oak, Irish tweed and linen, and Kilkenny marble, combining beauty and function. The walls of the two spaces are lined with Irish linen.
The walls of the corridors on Floor 50 feature landscape and portrait photography by Patrick Hogan, the Artist Award winner at the Irish Gallery of Photography. His work presents an intimate view of his everyday encounters and surroundings in a remote area of County Tipperary in Ireland, exploring themes of love, fragility, decay and loss
Ireland will also use the opportunity to promote its vibrant tourist industry, displaying specially commissioned posters to portray a modern, vibrant and welcoming place for visitors and tourists.
At the end of the corridor, the full text in Irish and English of the poem selected for the Irish Presidency is displayed.