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Eilis O’Connell:

Obsessed by scale

15 April 2020 | 22 minutes

Eilis O'Connell studied at art school in Cork, Ireland in the early 1970s. She was fascinated by making something small and then realising it big. She discusses the wide range of materials she's worked with – from Corten and mirror-polished stainless steel to bronze and epoxy resin – and describes her new-found admiration for marble.

Eilis O'Connell, Ovo, 2019, white statuary marble, stainless steel. Photo: Fionn McCann

Eilis says ‘I just love experimenting, as a natural thing. I’m a real messer. I like to see what a material can do and play with it.’

She touches upon a wide variety of subjects in this episode: copyright, the power of the plinth, her love for archaeology, cleaning sculptures, churches, and of course her passion for exploring different materials.

Eilis O’Connell, Sacrificial Anode, 2007

Eilis O’Connell, Atoms & Apples, 2013, mirror-polished stainless steel, apple trees. Photo: Eilis O’Connell

Eilis O’Connell, Circuit, 2008

Eilis O’Connell, Soul Houses, 2010

Like so many artists, Eilis's gallery exhibition has had to close because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Pangolin gallery is showing her work online and the Irish Times has a piece about the show.

Mentioned in this episode:

Anthony Caro (1924–2013) English sculptor who often worked using found industrial objects

David Smith (1906–1965) American sculptor and painter, well known for his large steel abstract geometric sculptures

Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) American-Japanese artist, furniture designer and landscape architect

Richard Serra (1938–) American artist

Keara McMartin and Pierangelo at Studio Sem

Helaine Blumenfeld (1942–) American sculptor

Newgrange A 5,200 year-old passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. Built by stone age farmers, the mound is 85m (279 feet) in diameter, 13m (43 feet) high and occupies an area of about one acre.

Eilis O'Connell, Stem, 2008


Producer: Sarah Monk

Editor: Duncan Thornley at MAP Studios.

Music: courtesy of

Running Dog Productions Ltd

Registered in England: 11933139