Magnus Modus – Joseph Walsh

Posted August 9, 2017 in Arts & Culture Features

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Taphouse september 2019

Joseph Walsh was commissioned to create the graceful sculpture Magnus Modus which can now be viewed in the newly opened wing of the National Gallery of Ireland. We asked him some questions.


How did the commission come about?

Magnus Modus was 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.

What was the inspiration behind Magnus Modus?

The concept was to create a material, man-made form, an object which is realised through influencing factors of circumstance as in nature, which brings a lively element into the space.


This series of work and its form represents a sense, a feeling. From the first sketch, the intention was to create an absolutely serene form, quiet, yet elegant with a lively movement. The final result was different from the intended result on paper.

Each piece of wood has different growing conditions and limits of flexibility, ultimately influencing its final form and appearance.  The result is perfectly imperfect, a unique piece.

How closely did you work with the National Gallery and Heneghan Peng architects before creating the piece? What considerations come into play?

The team of The National Gallery of Ireland was great, they enabled us to really optimise the piece, they passionately followed the progress and their passion inspired us to go further and further.

Heneghan Peng created this amazing space and we are honoured to have been chosen to create the work for it.


What do you hope the public take from seeing Magnus Modus?

The Magnus Modus is a piece that, for me, created a lot of joy. I hope that visitors of the installation experience that same joy when they see it.

What else is in the pipeline for 2017 and beyond?

We are working on some exciting projects, both larger scale sculptures, one more for Dublin actually, and another for India. We are also working on a very exciting exhibition in Japan and many other things!!

Images: Andrew Bradley


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