Class of 2023 • Installation

Anne Kenna

Anne Kenna
National College of Art and Design (NCAD)


Graduation Year
Class of 2023

I am interested in what is hidden, forgotten or silenced. This takes my work into the territory of the invisible, history, power relations and justice. This energises my curiosity and motivation and shapes my sculptural responses. Creating an emotional connection to the work for the audience is an important element of the material choices I make. I repurpose pre- used materials whenever possible, and place them in conversation with other mediums and processes, sound and performance, writing, film and conversation. I make sculpture to name the unnameable, engaging the boundaries of both inner and outer space, where risk and unseen possibilities often reside. In my degree project ‘after’ I focused on the oil industry and considered what might be invisible and hidden there. I linked this to devastating and urgent consequences for the planet. My research has shown that crude oil disappeared from visual culture over the past fifty years, resulting in a disconnection between its sources of production and its consumption. I see this as a deliberate manipulation by oil corporations to keep the attractions of a petrochemical lifestyle before us, hiding the real impacts of continuing to burn fossil fuels, while at the same time, sabotaging our capacity to respond with clarity and urgency. I am particularly motivated to find a new sculptural language for carbon and the consequences of burning fossil fuel and in this I was inspired by Nancy Holt’s, ‘Ten Billion Barrels of Crude 0il, 1986. Her drawing inspired the steel sculpture I made and allowed me to engage the many questions we need to ask ourselves about continuing to burn fossil fuels. I am interested in creating space for contemplation and conversation. I invited the audience to enter the troubling world of oil without reference to the language of the oil industry, through carbonised bread on a table set with decommissioned fire hoses, oil- wipe serviettes, and children’s cutlery. A segmented pipeline offers a view to crude oil, while a timepiece with a poisoned child’s vest invites questions about the future. My grounding motivation and inspiration are my grandchildren and the planet their generation will inherit.
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