Memento Mori (2022) soil, white clay, concrete
Latin for “remember that you die”, Memento Mori is an artistic or symbolic trope
acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death which has been used in philosophy,
religion, art, spirituality through the ages. It is in the acknowledgement and
acceptance of the inevitability of death that we are free to engage fully with the
This sculpture is comprised of 400 bone-like sculptures, representing the 400
vertebrates that have become extinct in the past 100 years, in a process that through
normal evolution would have taken 10,000 years. Arranged in a circular form in the
Garden Galleries at IMMA, the small sculptures are made of white clay and cement,
resembling both a pile of bones and a pile of rubble. The installation presents an
opportunity for reflection on our place in the ecosystem of our planet.
Reminiscent of ancient structures used as markers of time and seasonal cycles
(neolithic tombs, Stonehenge, sundials), and with its nod to our impending extinction,
the installation is like a portal to past, present and future. A reminder of the impending
possibility of us becoming an endangered species by our own hand.
It serves as a visual and visceral reminder of our connection to our true nature as a
part of nature and as custodians of the earth, like our ancestors before us.
Artist Biography : Lieselle McMahon is a visual artist living in Dublin. Following working
as a conservation geneticist in the Azores, she studied Music & Media Technologies at
Trinity College Dublin and Art & Design at CEAD at NCAD. Her practice is sculptural,
encompassing 2D, 3D installation, live art and sound sculpture. Drawing on the
assertion that the personal is political, conceptual themes around feminism and anti
capitalism manifest in her work and she has been a member of A4 Sounds Art Studios
since 2017, where she bases her practice from.
Her art practice is centred around the “drawing down” of the intangible into a tangible
form that the body innately recognises and understands, achieved through sculpture,
sound, performance art in a process of naming visually and viscerally that which
cannot be named.
She has showed work in group and solo exhibitions at DeAppendix Gallery, NCAD,
Filmbase and A4 Sounds Gallery, as well as live art performances in The Complex
Dublin, Mart Gallery Rathmines, the Grand Social, Donnybrook Youth Club beside the
Donnybrook Magdalene Laundry, at NES in Skagastrond, Iceland, and online with the
Post Collective in 2021 at Kunsthal Gent Gallery, Belgium. Upcoming exhibitions in
2022 include All Together Now festival, “The Stars are in the Earth” group exhibition
at A4 Sounds Gallery Dublin and IMMA Outdoors exhibition “Earth Rising”.
Her practice is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.