Shane Cullen

Douglas Hyde Gallery

Shane Cullen’s Fragments sur les Institutions Républicaines IV (Fragments on republican institutions IV, 1993–) consists of a vast wall of meticulously hand-painted text that bears witness to the 1981 Irish Republican hunger strike. Now rapidly approaching completion, this work-in-progress enjoyed its first public, if partial, outing as one-half of Ireland’s contribution to the 1995 Venice Biennale. Several years of painstaking transcription has so far produced well over 20,000 words culled from a series of letters from Republican prisoners to the external leadership of the IRA. Scribbled furtively on cigarette papers, these urgent communications were then crushed into minute pellets, wrapped in cellophane, and smuggled out of Long Kesh prison. They were subsequently gathered together by journalist David Beresford in his book on the hunger strike, Ten Men Dead (1987), from which they were,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1997 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.