Joseph Walsh unveils Magnus Modus

A site specific 7-meter wood sculpture commissioned for the Courtyard of the National Gallery of Ireland

June 2017: Irish studio workshop Joseph Walsh Studio unveils its latest commission Magnus Modus, a large scale, seven metre tall, free-form sculpture made of multiple layers of laminated olive ash wood that will be displayed in the new Courtyard in the refurbished National Gallery of Ireland from June 15th, 2017, as part of the Gallery's permanent collection. The latest addition to the Magnus Series, a series that challenges the perception that function demands an explicit use, Magnus Modus is commissioned by the Office of Public Works (OPW) on behalf of the National Gallery of Ireland under the Per Cent for Art Scheme, as a result of winning an OPW-initiated by invitation competition.


Magnus Modus will be the third large scale installation of the Magnus series. Assembled and designed in a large warehouse, the meticulously crafted curved sculpture responds to the question of whether art can transcend history while simultaneously addressing the complex relationship between form and function. It encircles and engages the viewer, whilst expanding the creative language of collaboration between man and material.


Resting upon a small Kilkenny lime stone base, the Magnus Modus delineates space in its slender aspect, stationed on a tiny footprint, reaching upwards and then outwards. As the sculpture ascends, it becomes lighter and reacts to subtle changes in atmosphere.  It creates surrounding spaces, shadows and delicate lines of movement, thereby transforming the viewer into an actor by its responsive presence.

 “Magnus Modus is the culmination of all the pieces created during the past 15 years and the inspiration that went into designing them. This commission by the National Gallery gave me the opportunity to explore ideas around pure sculpture and translate them into a full scale piece. I wanted to create a sculpture that is very seductive in form and yet perfectly imperfect, as in nature where the supposed imperfections are the thing that create the unique character, the results of atmospheric shifts that ultimately alter and positively influence the material. Magnus Modus is the very reflection of my search for effortless design harmony.”- Joseph Walsh, Founder of Joseph Walsh Studio

Joseph Walsh established his Studio in 1999 on his family’s farm, which still hosts the original 18th century Walsh Farmhouse. Largely inspired by and appreciative of nature, his work is characterised by an ongoing curiosity about the dialogic possibilities of different materials and unison of form and functionality to create sculptural, one-of-a-kind pieces. The creative process behind these pieces is constantly fuelled by the Studio's cooperation with teams of master craftsmen, as well as apprentices and interns, coming from all over the world to realise Walsh's design vision.


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Notes to the Editor:

About Joseph Walsh Studio

Joseph Walsh established his Studio in 1999 on his family’s farm, a 18th century agricultural concern on which the original Walsh Farmhouse still stands. His innate relationship with landscape and rural life dictated by the seasons continues to inform Walsh’s response to nature, to his consideration of the effect of the environment on materials which fires his imagination, inspiring his unique creations.


About Joseph Walsh

Joseph Walsh (born in 1979) founded his Studio and workshop in 1999 in County Cork, Ireland. He is a designer maker, realising One-of-a-Kind and limited edition pieces. Walsh’s creative approach reflects his appreciation of nature and also his desire to engage the user with visual and tactile forms.


The great understanding and sympathetic use of the material, the intimate relationship between the process of finding forms and creating structures, and the continuity and resolve from the concept stage to the making process define his Studio and work today. Walsh's workshop, employing an international team, engages in resolving technical challenges as his work becomes more complex. They explore new materials while continuing to further the possibilities of engaging with wood. The work of the Studio continues to advance skills, inspire an innovative response and challenge existing practices in achieving the ambitious pieces realised.


Joseph Walsh was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University College Cork in 2015 in recognition of his contribution to design.


Joseph Walsh’s work can be found in many significant international Museums and Private Collections and is regularly exhibited at major art and design fairs.


About the National Gallery of Ireland


Established in 1854 by an Act of Parliament, the National Gallery of Ireland is one of Europe’s earliest public art galleries. It houses a collection of over 16,300 works of art spanning the history of Western European art from early Renaissance to the present day. Among the highlights are Spanish works by Velázquez, Murillo and Goya, Italian masterpieces by Mantegna, Titian, Caravaggio and Guercino, French paintings by Poussin, Chardin and Bonnard, Dutch masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, and works by eminent British artists including Hogarth, Gainsborough and Reynolds. The Gallery’s most prominent holdings relate to the Irish collection with works by Daniel Maclise, Thomas Roberts, Roderic O’Conor, John Lavery, William Orpen, Mainie Jellett, Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats. The Gallery is also home to the National Portrait Collection and extensive research collections such as the Denis Mahon Library & Archive, the Yeats Archive, the William Orpen Archive and the Centre for the Study of Irish Art.



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