Hughie O’Donahue at the RA


Crossing the Rapido III

These are the notes I wrote sitting in front of this extremely large work:

Graphite wash- temporal. Emotions visible in strokes. Dimensions of work determined by the actual river depicted.
A town is shown nestled haphazardly on a hillside, the clearer part of the drawing before it moves towards the bound/ stretched/ floating/ anchored/ weighted figure/ statue. This figure inhabits a vertical barrier in the image, and to the right is only chaos and darkness. Barely discernible crucifixion. The figure is referred to in the accompanying documentation exhibited. Part travel journal, part ongoing work reflecting the process of the making, these long cabinets house pages and pages of research reworked and worked into.
The surrounding steel frame is fixed and weighty. The scale almost suffocating. The houses and buildings are represented smaller than actual size, the figure larger.
It feels hard to catch my breath, the scale makes it easy to visualise making that crossing, the depth, the fast flow, the cold and weight of a soldiers’ kit, being under fire.
The relative quite of the gallery space jars with the noise suggested in the image.

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