Designer Richard Malone pays tribute to sculptor Alberto Giacometti and his grandmother

“I was very aware of being in a gallery that traditionally has dead artists and preserved works in glass cases so I wanted to animate the space.”

You can’t accuse fashion designer and artist Richard Malone of not being productive.

One of the standout stars at London Fashion Week in recent years, Malone’s limited-edition collections of draped and ruffled clothing are regularly snapped up by a group of dedicated collectors who have recognized her as a designer to watch. .

However, in the past eight weeks, the Wexford-born designer has relocated from London and has been artist-in-residence at the “Giacometti: From Life” exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland.

During that time, Malone completed up to 50 works in his contemporary response to the 20th-century Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, whose exhibition in Dublin has been attracting visitors to the Merrion Square Gallery since its opening in April.

Putting her usual fashion work aside and her upcoming new season collection, Malone’s new act opened to the public last night and is free to view until September 4.

entitled knot, tie, gesture, bendThe work consisted of a variety of installations, including four free-standing pieces made of molten metal, which he worked on at the family home in Wexford and then covered with fabric and stitched in place.

“It’s an interesting conversation for me when I used to work on construction sites and still the difference with the female spaces where my grandmother and my mom taught me to sew. There’s this real sense of merging and merging those two worlds.” ,” Malone said.

Responding to the shape and form, drawings, paintings and large wall-based “mobiles” made of silk jersey and silk ribbons are ceramic pieces and an air conditioning unit on site enlivens and transports clothing.

“It was really about capturing motion and form, so everything feels like it’s really animated and active.”

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A key element of this residency was reaching out to the gallery’s community partners, including the Kathryn Macaulay National School, the Irish Sign Language Community, the Dementia Support Group and sewing groups in Galway and Roscommon, to support diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive activities. The engagement.

During his residency, Malone gained access to the gallery’s archives and fell in love with embroideries by the poet’s sisters, WB Yeats, Lily and Lolly Yates.

“I also kept thinking about the traditional ways of weaving and weaving that connect us to different parts of Ireland and it really became part of the process and exaggerated those things,” he said.

This is not the first time that Malone has gone on the head of a famous artist. During the lockdown, he curated Making and Momentum: In Conversation with Eileen Gray and sparked a renewed interest in the Irish designer’s legacy and his influence on contemporary artists.

Malone comes from a very artistic family and it was his late grandmother, Nelly, who taught him to sew and introduced him to the talents of another Wexford native, Eileen Grey.

“It was a weird thing but all the pieces I sewed for this show were sewn on her machine that she (Nelli) left with me. And when I opened the first layer of her sewing box that was her The passes were from the 1970s, so all the colors for this exhibition matched my color choices. They were very specific colors – not black, white and beige – but colors like sea foam, pink and rust, and threads of all colors .

The synchronicity of finding echoes of her own work in the legacy of the woman who influenced her is not lost on Malone, who is set to return to Wexford to choreograph a dance project and film it.

The work of designing the clothes will have to wait a little longer.