Orla Whelan

Visual Artist

I Don’t Need Anything From Here (magic-carpet-painting) – Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy Atrium, Dublin

Orla Whelan, I Don’t Need Anything From Here (magic-carpet-painting), 2022
acrylic paint on plywood, 480 x 260 x 4 cm
I Don’t Need Anything From Here (magic-carpet-painting), 2022, detail



Orla Whelan – I Don’t Need Anything From Here (magic-carpet-painting) – RHA Atrium  

Exhibition runs from 18 November – 29 January


Opening Hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 11am to 5pm
Wednesday -11am to 6.30pm
Sunday – 12pm to 5pm   

PRESS RELEASE: November 2022

I Don’t Need Anything From Here (magic-carpet-painting) is a temporary, site-responsive artwork created for the unique space of the atrium at the Royal Hibernian Academy. This large, floor-based painting consists of over two hundred hand-painted wooden wedges, combined to form a colourful ground covering. The individual wooden wedge shape, based on the usually unseen corner wedge found on the reverse of a traditional stretched canvas, speaks to the history and materiality of painting, and functions for the artist as a vehicle to transport colour into a space. I Don’t Need Anything From Here (magic-carpet-painting) is a contemporary, expanded, landscape painting masquerading as a mythological object, that invites the viewer on a metaphysical journey.

As a literary trope, a magic carpet is used to defy the laws of time and space, enabling characters to perform huge geographical leaps in an instant. By assuming the hybrid from of a magic carpet and a painting – both forms known for their transcendent capacities, this magic-carpet-painting invokes the potential of colour to transcend its immediate environment. Employing a tonal palette, it conjures up a vague sense of the Irish geological landscape, offering a chromatic collage of our familiar earthly place, edged by the blackness of the cosmos beyond. This incongruous object explores the potential of colour to convey something of the complex relationship between ourselves and the world around us, creating a visual dialogue between artwork, institution, subject and space. With the possibility of physical ascension provided by the adjacent staircase, I Don’t Need Anything from Here (magic-carpet-painting) at the RHA atrium, offers the viewer a point of metaphysical departure, an imaginary stepping off point.

The title, borrowed form the final text in the book ‘The World Goes On’ by László Krasznahorkai, speaks of a leave-taking, a bidding farewell, in which the one departing takes stock of all that is here on earth and in the heavens, all the beauty, mystery, joy, heartbreak and despair, and with unwavering clarity, leaves it all behind… ‘because I’ve looked into what’s coming and I don’t need anything from here.’