Remaking the Crust of the Earth


The Irish Architectural Archive is pleased to present Remaking the Crust of the Earth by artist and curator Gavin Murphy. The project – the result of several years of research by the artist into the history and cultural impact of glass and its use in the built environment – draws extensively on the Raymond McGrath Collection housed at the Irish Architectural Archive, producing an exhibition comprising of a film, installed and photographic works, and an accompanying publication.



Remaking the Crust of the Earth presents a layered, cultural history which examines the ways in which glass has transformed society, how humans situate themselves within the environment, and how we view the world. Through the unlikely accident of its discovery to its present day ubiquity, it considers glass in its myriad guises: from the modular prefabrication of Joseph Paxton’s ‘Crystal Palace’ to the optimism of Paul Scheerbart’s Glasarchitektur, both of which in their own way lay a path for modernism, the curtain wall, and the 20th century ‘glass house’. Traversing time and space, the exhibition explores previous and unfulfilled stages of the material’s history, revealing alternatives which belie an ‘inevitable’ contemporary (and its futures).



Its visual centre-point is a recreation of a series of photographic tests to illustrate the concealing power of glasses, that were produced for the encyclopaedic 1937 publication Glass in Architecture and Decoration, by Raymond McGrath & A.C. Frost. Born in Australia, of Irish descent, McGrath was among the pioneering architects in 1930s England, pre-eminent in the use of glass, light and colour. During the Second World War McGrath moved to Dublin, to a position in the Office of Public Works, becoming Principal Architect from 1948–1968.



The project involves the participation of Karl Burke (sound & music) and Louis Haugh (photography), and an accompanying publication features new essays by Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll and Chris Fite-Wassilak, alongside reproductions from the Raymond McGrath collection in the Irish Architectural Archive, and is published by Set Margins’, Eindhoven. A schools workshop series, devised by artist Marian Balfe in response to the exhibition will also take place.

Gallery Talk: an informal gallery talk on Tuesday 25 April 2023 at 2pm will see Gavin Murphy and Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll discussing some of the themes, subject matter, histories and ideas of the work on show. Click here to book a spot.


Gavin Murphy is an artist and curator with an interest in cultural sites and histories. His research-based, intertextual practice involves the assemblage of unique fabricated elements, sourced and found objects, images and texts, with an interest in the sculptural possibilities of cinematic structures and mise en scène. His exhibitions include Double Movement, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, 2017; Something New Under the Sun, RHA, 2012; Remember, Hugh Lane, 2010; Moving Deaths, Conical, Melbourne, 2009, and Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacons Studio, BOZAR, Brussels, 2013. He was recently co-curator of ‘Dubliners’, for the Biennial of Painting, Zagreb, Croatia, and as joint-artistic director of Pallas Projects/Studios, he has devised numerous artist-led projects, and writes, advocates and conducts research on artist-run practice.


Funded by The Arts Council


Supported by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council; IADT Dun Laoghaire/National Film School