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Abigail O'Brien, b.1957

The Last Supper1995

The Last Supper’ is the first of seven sacraments of the Catholic liturgy to be explored by the Dublin artist Abigail O’Brien. “Here the sacrament of marriage is explored through the use of photography and a sculpture installation. The marriage rite is sidetracked and instead the focus is on a group of twelve women and a baby who come together to celebrate a bride’s final hours as a single woman”*.
Her guests at this last supper, the ‘hen night’ preceding the nuptials, make no judgement on the bride’s choices but appear as willing participants in the rite. Easy female intimacies are played out in six of the seven panels which refer, through colour and hand gestures, to Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’.
The central panel of the photographs shows two empty chairs. In front of a wedding table, with a single place setting in the bride’s position, prompting questions about potential risk or failure or perhaps independence.
The border of the hand-embroidered tablecloth carries a counting motif the purpose of which is also left open.

*Statement from the artist, 2005, IMMA

Medium7 cibachrome photographs,table,chair, embroidered tablecloth, dinner set
Dimensions Dimensions variable
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 1996
Item NumberIMMA.642
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Abigail O'Brien, The Last Supper, 1995, 7 cibachrome photographs,table,chair, embroidered tablecloth, dinner set, Dimensions variable, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 1996

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

About the Artist

Abigail O'Brien b.1957

Irish artist Abigail O’Brien (born 1957) studied painting at the National College of Art and Design. Working in a range of media including painting, photography, video, sculpture and embroidery, she explores ideas of tradition, religion, ritual and domesticity. O’Brien has exhibited throughout Ireland and Europe and her work is represented in significant public and private collections. She is a member and current secretary of the Royal Hibernian Academy.
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