Ciara Finnegan Anne-Marie McKee David Jacques


artist residency July - September 2022

exhibition opens on Culture Night 23 September 6-9pm

Continues until 1 October


Since 2019, Art Arcadia and Liverpool Irish Festival have mapped exchanges between Liverpool and Derry.

Housing is a remote residency that brings together the work of three artists Anne-Marie McKee (Derry, N.I), David Jacques (Liverpool, UK) and Ciara Finnegan (Heemstede, NL). 

Sharing common sympathies on residency program design and critical approaches to the architecture of ‘The Exhibition’, through Housing Art Arcadia and The Dollhouse Space tap at the idea of nodal experimental art spaces. Built from the architectural plans of the ‘original’ Dollhouse and located in different geographical regions, these dollhouses create a decentralised network that is simultaneously large, but also operates at an autonomous, very small-scale, intimate level.

The Housing residency culminated in a physical presentation of three dollhouses at Art Arcadia, Derry, NI: one built of hardboard with an animated plumbing system (David), another a two-dimensional model cut and stitched from woven polypropylene sacking (Anne-Marie) and the third, a transparent plexiglass model (Ciara).



Once upon a time there were three little/minor? artists. For many, many years they lived happily in their family homes, drawing and painting, making experimental films and reading critical theory, until one day their mothers said: “Why the heck are you still living here?! Get out and get yourself a real job and your own house! It’s time you left to explore the world beyond this house.” So the artists reluctantly packed their bags and left.

Somewhere along this narrative route, they met a woman with some architectural plans. The woman said to the three artists, “Would you like to use these plans to build your houses?” and the artists said: “Yes, please!”

One artist built a house out of woven polypropylene sacking.

Another artist built a house out of hardboard.

And the other artist built a house out of plexiglass.

On Culture Night this surreal estate will sit in Art Arcadia. A terrace row of sorts; each house built from exactly the same plans with exactly the same dimensions and sharing a common plumbing system (which is dodgy enough to allow a seepage of thought between the houses, ideas leaking from one to another to another.) At the same time, each house stands apart, distinctly different from its neighbours, coloured by the imagination of the artist housed there.



Anne-Marie McKee:

Anne-Marie McKee is an artist, researcher, collaborator, organiser. A graduate of Glasgow School of Art, in 2017, she set up Clarendon Street Studios in Derry to provide affordable studios for fellow professional visual artists. She founded Wild Tulips Gallery, Derry (2019) – an initiative of Clarendon Street Studios that commissioned new work from artists in the Northwest of Ireland with an international reach. Former Chairperson of 126 Artist-run Gallery, Galway, Ireland (2012-2013). Curatorial intern for curator Megs Morley during TULCA Festival of Visual Arts 2011 in Galway.

Anne-Marie’s practice is currently working around the idea of Thin Places. THIN PLACES have long been investigated by artists and philosophers as a way of connecting our geography, psychogeography and earth spirituality at certain loci. Thin places refer to areas where there is a connection to another plane or an altered sense of reality – where there is a rift or a connection to another place. For some people, Thin places are liminal spaces found on the tops of mountains; for some, it is on or in the sea; or stone circles; for some it is working with horses. Thin places provide a metaphorical space in which Anne-Marie explores a sense of the self embedded in the landscape.

David Jacques:

David Jacques is a multimedia Artist based in Liverpool UK. His current practice deals with Eco-Political situations using layered, surreal narratives. For the housing residency he has set up an encounter between the Dollhouse, a mass of oil & gas pipes infused with a wild animism and a puck-like figure known as ‘The Oil Drop Kid’, a distorted take on Esso Oils’ mascot from the 1950’s.

Ciara Finnegan:

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, have sex, eat, urinate, defecate, be ill, wear shoes. (even sleeping’s risky – all that nocturnal shedding of skin onto crisp sheets…) People who live in glass houses shouldn’t. They just shouldn’t. But they do.

Ah, Modernism! Your architecture and familiar art forms! How we hate you for recoiling at right-angles from life’s viscera, the smears it leaves behind, its smudging of surfaces… (The demands of modernist design weigh heavily on the cleaner.) And yet, somewhere, deep down, do we not secretly crave the peace of your straight lines, your smooth surfaces, your mathematical eloquence?

In ‘Housing’ I draw on Malcolm Turvey’s analysis of the work of film-maker, Jacques Tati, in his excellent study: Play Time Jacques Tati and Comedic Modernism. With reference to Tati’s notion of democratic comedy and a love/hate relationship with modernist design, I poke at issues around transparency and privacy in the contemporary age, playing with hyperbolic figurative sculptures, slapstick, staged and unstaged gags in the Plexiglass Dollhouse.


This collaborative residency is in partnership with The Livepool Irish Festival and The Dollhouse Space. It is funded by Derry City & Strabane District Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Arts Council England, hosted by Art Arcadia in Derry and The Reader in Liverpool.



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