HOME: Sara Baume

In Sara Baume’s wall-based installation, 100 small house-like objects, made from carved and painted modelling plaster, are presented in a grid.

They reveal a variety of forms, of miniature details and architectural embellishments, while collectively imbued with an austere, ghost-like quality. Informed by the iconic Irish cottage souvenir, the series reflects upon the famine-era dwellings surrounding Baume’s rural home, “their brilliant, white, smooth planes rising boldly against the rumpled greens.” The objects also address the changing demographic landscape of Ireland, as dramatic population growth potentially transfigures the countryside and, by extension, the type and quantity of homes that will be needed. In the course of making these ‘souvenirs,’ Baume progressed from mimicking bungalows and cottages to the styles of houses built during the Celtic Tiger, when vast estates rapidly colonised the rural landscape. Her simple forms expanded, incorporating conservatories, dormer windows, and turrets, and, as they became increasingly abstract, began to resemble intricate shrines or convoluted dolmens. 

Far removed from the habitable structures required for housing, these ornate dwellings reflected the rampant consumerism of the era. In Baume’s spectral renderings of these houses, one sees instead the newfound prevalence of the abandoned, overgrown and unoccupied ‘ghost estates’ of the subsequent recession.