VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art boasts an area of 3,130m², comprising four principle gallery spaces which are clean ‘white cubes’, with the exception of the link gallery which provides a more relaxed and informal environment.
The floors in all the gallery and public areas are finished with a polished concrete allowing for the most modest and non-intrusive appearance in the context of exhibitions or floor sculptures. It is also extremely hardwearing, maintenance free and has infinite loading.
The Main Gallery boasts an area of 29m x 16m x 11m high. It is the largest exhibition space for contemporary visual art in the country, and marks a milestone in the development of infrastructure for the visual arts nationally. It offers artists the opportunity to work on a scale which was previously impossible, and affords Visual the opportunity to work with international artists whose work is of a larger scale than any other space in Ireland can accommodate. The exhibition programme is inclusive of local, national and international artists and exhibitions.
It has been designed with the assistance of a visual arts technical consultant, Bruce McAllister who worked as head technician in the Tate Gallery London throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. The walls are made of two layers of 18cm MDF which is the quickest and most convenient material to work with when hanging works of art. Behind the MDF panelling is a reinforced aluminium stud system which allows for heavy loading onto the walls themselves. Also, the walls have a walkway behind them which can be accessed by technical staff. We can provide services such as electricity, data and water through the walls using this cavity, so if an artist wishes to use any of these elements in their work it is very simple and straightforward. The gallery is also equipped with an extremely complex system of security cables which can be connected to individual works of art, meaning that they cannot be removed or moved without setting off the building alarm.
The Studio Gallery is a smaller more intimate space which can accommodate smaller exhibitions or single works. It has also been designed to be closed off to the public, and the doors when closed form part of a large oak panel which has the appearance of a wall, which creates a more seamless and normal appearance when the gallery is closed. The reason for this is to allow this space to be used as a studio for an artist in residence. The space has its own access to our backroom workshop and wash-up area which the artist can use.
The Link Gallery is a more relaxed and informal space than the other exhibition spaces and provides a contrast and different feel to the exhibitions on display. It has the potential of allowing for work to intervene into the space and use the architecture, colour scheme, and textures to enhance and play off the work on display. .
The Digital Gallery is specially designed to allow for total black out or low lighting. Principally this allows for two uses, for audio-visual or digital media work where a darkened space is necessary, or for work which is extremely sensitive to light, such as older works of heritage value. The space has enhanced access to both power and data in the many floor points located throughout the room. Total blackout is achieved by the use of large blackout drapes at both entrances, which when walked through create the least amount of light bleed into the room as possible.
The Lobby Gallery is the smallest exhibition space in the building and the intention is to maintain this space as the most flexible and multi-use space possible. Possible uses are as a reading room, where catalogues and text books can be read by visitors, and education space where additional or more detailed exhibition information can be displayed on the walls, documentary displays of outreach and education projects, experimental ideas projects for younger artists, the list is endless…