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This monumental display of ready-meal packaging, draws attention to our disposable consumer culture and manufactured ideas of freshness and naturalness. The garnish leaf pictured on each meal is cut from its box and folded to stand up in the centre of individual plant pots. These pots are then arranged according to garnish species and lit from above like a hothouse. McCarthy’s works often deal with the concept of lifestyle and how it is used as a language to express identity. Crisps, toilet paper, plastic bags, rubbish and furniture are some of the everyday materials she has used to explore the nature of representation, consumerism and ideas of value and taste. Made in 2003, Promise has a powerful resonance years later as we comprehend the devastating environmental impacts of human consumption and the shift in our understanding of ourselves from consumers in the world to consumers of the world.

MediumReady-meal Packaging, Plant Pots, Wire, Wood, Lighting
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, June 2016
Item NumberIMMA.4008
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Caroline McCarthy, Promise, 2003, Ready-meal Packaging, Plant Pots, Wire, Wood, Lighting, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, June 2016

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

About the Artist

Caroline McCarthy b.1971

Irish artist Caroline McCarthy studied at the National College of Art and Design and Goldsmith’s College, London. Her works in video, sculpture, photography and installation, make witty observations about the nature of consumerism and representation while also engaging with historical notions of art and the artist. McCarthy has exhibited nationally and internationally since the 1990s. She has undertaken artist residencies in China, Iceland, France, the Netherlands and at IMMA in 1997.
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Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.