There’s a new face in town.
The third installment in Cork City’s Urban Sculpture Trail is now in place, sitting proudly on the facade of the historic Exchange Building on the corner of Princes Street and Oliver Plunkett Street.
Face Cup by artist Fiona Mulholland is a celebration of the county’s rich prehistoric heritage. It’s part of a unique cultural trail of five contemporary sculptures that are being installed around Cork City this year to encourage locals and visitors to explore new areas and bring art to life on the streets.
The first two sculptures, Sentinels on Carey’s Lane and Boom Nouveau on Cook Street were installed earlier this summer.
“I wanted to create a museum for an outdoor space using large-scale replicas of Bronze Age artefacts found in Cork that are beautifully linked to the street’s hospitality heritage”, Fiona Mulholland, artist
Linking the past to the present, the large-scale sculptural reliefs are based on a collection of exceptional Bronze Age ceramic artefacts – a small clay cup decorated with eyes, nose, ears, and feet, another pottery vessel with ears, and a spoon that are approximately 3800 years old.
The original artefacts were excavated by archaeologists working on the site of the N8/N73 Mitchelstown Relief Road in 2004, who have assisted Fiona with ensuring accuracy for the project.
“The Exchange Building is such a unique canvas to work on,” said Mulholland.
“The three tiers of coursing along the facade reminded me of an Irish dresser and I wanted to pay testament to the rich history of home and hospitality in the building and the surrounding area.
“I wanted to bring history to life and create a museum for an outdoor space. The ‘Face Cup’ is a curious anthropomorphic cup. It is a rendering of a human face, which was found with a ceramic spoon, and two other vessels. These wonderful artefacts form the basis of the artwork and are rendered three-dimensionally onto the façade of the building.”
Michelle Carew, Arts Officer, Cork City Council, said the team behind the project is thrilled with the newest addition to the trail.
“A hub of outdoor cafes, restaurants and bars, it is fitting that Face Cup is a nod to our city’s heritage and rich tradition of hospitality,” said Carew.
“We look forward to unveiling the final two sculptures on the trail later this year as we continue to bring art into the public domain and encourage people to discover new views in the city.”