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Alice Maher, b.1956


Maher works in a range of media, often from the natural and domestic world, such as hair, nettles, bees and thorns. She has explored the themes of childhood and death, such as in the work Mnemosyne, 2003, wherein she creates a bedlike structure constructed from a steel case housing a refrigeration unit. Slowly during the day it freezes the air around it, accumulating a soft layer of ice, which is then allowed to thaw overnight. 

Mnemosyne was the Greek goddess of memory and forgetting, inventor of language and mother to the nine muses. In Maher’s work, it’s a brilliant metaphor for the vast potential of inspiration, and also its fragility.  

Mnemosyne, goddess of memory, daughter of Uranus and Gaia (heaven and earth), and the mother of the muses, is here invoked in the form of a bed, a gamut of human experience – love, sex, birth, death and loneliness; a site, as the piece suggests, for both the creation and contemplation of memories.

Mnemosyne was exhibited in Maher’s IMMA mid-career retrospective Becoming at Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin in 2012.

MediumStainless steel, copper piping, condensing unit, corian, refrigeration gas.
Dimensions183 x 104 x 88 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2021, 2021
Item NumberIMMA.4229
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Alice Maher, Mnemosyne, 2002, Stainless steel, copper piping, condensing unit, corian, refrigeration gas., 183 x 104 x 88 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2021, 2021

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Alice Maher b.1956

One of Ireland's leading contemporary artists, Alice Maher works within the realms of nature and culture, subversion and transformation, mythology and memory. Her work involves many different media including painting, drawing, sculpture, print, photography and installation.
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