Did you know that there is a tunnel running under Parnell Square in Dublin's city centre? Indeed, if the truth be told, there is probably a network of tunnels down there. How do I know? Well, believe it or not, there’s an entrance to this tunnel under no. 5 Cavendish Row, where Olivier Cornet has his art gallery. Now, it’s blocked up at the moment but we know that it runs diagonally across the square to where Vaughan’s Hotel used to be.
Michael Collins, one of the leaders in the Irish War of Independence, used this tunnel. He had a secret office at the top of the building and he used to come and go un-noticed through the tunnel. This building was owned by the TEEU, a union for electricians, and it was they who put electric light in the tunnel. Why am I telling you all this? Well, this year the summer group show of the Olivier Cornet Gallery will be all about the building. It will be co-curated by Olivier and Arran Henderson, author, art historian and founder of Dublin Decoded. See: http://dublindecoded.com/
The show will be opened by Arran on the 7th of June and it will run until the 30th of August. And yes - that's my painting up above, it's 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas, painted specially for the exhibition.
Now, of course there’s more to this building than its tunnel. To quote Olivier:
Through selected pieces, the Olivier Cornet Gallery aims to depict the vivid history of 5 Cavendish Row and its surrounding area. The artworks have their roots in the very beginning of the street’s history when Bartholomew Mosse built his famous Rotunda Hospital. They flit through the social graces of the Pleasure Gardens opposite and they liaise with political upheaval as Michael Collins takes up his residency in Number 5, utilising a secret tunnel under the doorsteps. From there, the artworks are swept up by the rebellious waves of a pirate radio station and they are thrown along through changes of hand until they settle contentedly into the gallery space here today.
The show, entitled “5 Cavendish Row” features works by gallery artists Mark Doherty, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Michelle Byrne, Adrienne Symes, Jordi Forniés, Hugh Cummins, Conrad Frankel, Kelly Ratchford and Jason Lowe. Also exhibited is work by invited artists Eve Parnell, Gerard Cox and Catherine Ryan.
Now, what do you think of that? Do leave a comment :-) And you can see more of my paintings at: