Permission Courtesy of the Artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
Dorothy Cross, Irish, b.1956
Title: Shark Heart Submarine
Date: 2011
Medium: Mixed media
520 x 80 cm
91 cm
6 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2019
Object Number: NGI.2019.43
DescriptionThe gilded model of a nuclear submarine in Shark Heart Submarine, placed on a 19th-century easel, holds the preserved heart of a Porbeagle Shark caught accidently in nets off the south coast of Ireland. In the catalogue for Connemara at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, the exhibition in which the work was first shown, Dorothy Cross wrote: ‘The heart once beat inside an animal that is very ancient, but about which very little is known. Shark have inhabited our oceans for millions of years, and in evolutionary terms they have changed very little, due to their efficiency’. The submarine echoes the menace associated with sharks, while the way it serves as a reliquary invites the audience to consider what is deemed holy and why this is the case. Sharks recur in Cross’s work. ‘I am very interested in what is repulsive and what is beautiful,’ she has said ‘because in our own bodies we are so confused about that, in terms of sexuality and our own mortality. The shark epitomises that, too, in terms of fear and desire and misunderstanding’ (Financial Times, 27 September 2013). This is one of several works in which the artist addresses the friction that often exists between man and nature. The piece brings together art, engineering and craftsmanship (the submarine was made by yacht builders in Kinsale and gilded by a master craftsman). It occupies a place traditionally taken by a painting.
ProvenancePurchased, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, 2019

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