UK artist Irma Irsara presents her brand new works at Tabernacle Gallery on the occasion of ‘Intervals’ exhibition opening in June

5 min readMay 29, 2022

On June 7th, Irma Irsara, contemporary Italian artist who lives and works in London, will present her latest artworks at the Tabernacle Gallery on the occasion of the summer exhibition, Intervals. Irma will be exhibiting three of her latest projects with centrepiece of the show, Accendo la luce, nasce l’ombra (2021), a large installation work, consisting of 72 panels and created using a dedicated papermaking technique, being presented for the first time. A selection from Irsara’s recent Water Level Series relating to ecological and environmental themes and created using the same paper pulp technique will also be debuted. Finally, the artist will be showing a time-lapse digital video work, originally created for the exhibition Earth is Calling at the Crypt Gallery in 2019, part of which was also shown at the Bargehouse for Totally Thames, Foragers of the Foreshore exhibition.

Accendo la luce, nasce l’ombra (2021), is inspired by notions of loss of connectivity and nostalgia for past encounters leading to feelings of isolation and vulnerability. At the same time, it explores the shared life experiences and the sense of equality that certain phenomena create, uniting people while keeping them apart. The shift in the perception of time as a result of the pandemic, led the artist to change her outlook: instead of working towards a precise event or end point, she found herself reimagining outcomes by revisiting the past, looking at old work and notebooks, and extracting significant words and phrases in a process of re-evaluation. Irsara worked extensively on this work over the lockdown periods, forming a composite wall piece that consists of separate panels with embossed lettering, using letterpress printing on a book binding press. Each standalone piece becomes part of the overall installation — a wall of fragments incorporating old sayings with scraps of personal, nostalgic thought. The words are deliberately intended to have possible multiple meanings to reflect diverse responses to a common experience and evoke an imagined future.

The brand new works presented from the Water Level Series, seemingly unrelated but deeply connected, explore issues of climatic and ecological change. The artist uses jade and blue pigment dyes to create strata that reflect the marks left by changing water levels, exploring the idea of watermarks as indicators and predictors of wider changes and shifting patterns. Irsara is particularly interested in extremes and variants in nature, occurring as we continue to disengage from the natural world, potential turning points where we might begin to acknowledge our need to re-encounter and reconnect.

These cotton fibre works are built up using layers of dyed pulp in a wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry, hand mould and deckle process. There is no glue in the mixture as the ‘paper’ holds together through the natural interweaving of the fibres themselves. The pulp is made predominantly from cotton linters which are repeatedly mashed with water before different natural or synthetic, fibre-reactive pigment dyes are added to create the basic palette. An interesting feature is the uneven edges (deckle edges) that the process produces.

Finally, the time-lapse digital video work presented, which was created for the exhibition Earth is Calling, draws attention to issues relating to change. In this work, Irsara explores ideas of aesthetics and fragility, looking at beauty both in terms of its ability to mask and mislead, and its power to persuade and promote ideas in a positive way. Irsara’s focus has recently shifted to issues concerning invisible nature, micro pollution and micro fibre plastic, using micro-photography and film to produce her outcomes. This time-lapse work utilises the melting of ice, embedded with natural and man-made items sourced from various locations (including along the Thames foreshore), to generate the moment when nature takes over and the artist becomes the observer of new forms. The accompanying soundtrack for the piece was created by musician and soundscape artist Jonathan Lambert. The creative process for the work also involved a collaboration with other creatives and conversations with members of the scientific community. The artist also connected with primary school classes and family groups through a number of outreach events where she explored ideas of collective responsibility, shifting patterns of thinking and ultimately, learning to adapt.

The Intervals exhibition will be held from 7th to 12th June at the Tabernacle Gallery in West London, a unique Grade II listed building built in 1887 as a church. The building boasts a curved Romanesque façade of red brick and terracotta, and towers with broach spires on either side. Of particular interest to Irsara is the building’s continuing role in the community and the multicultural ethos of the organisation that curates the space.

Venue Address

34–35 Powis Square, London W11 2AY, United Kingdom


Tuesday 7 June to Sunday 12 June, 2022

Private View: Wednesday 8 June, 6pm — 9pm

Opening Hours:

Tue to sat: 10am — 9pm

Sunday: 10am — 5pm

Images can be downloaded here:

About the artist:

Irma Irsara is an Italian contemporary artist who has lived and worked in London UK since 1985. She studied Fine Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Urbino in Italy and has presented her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. Her practice embraces techniques as diverse as fibre art, stained glass, bookmaking, print, video and installation.

There is a clear preoccupation with nature and the environment, partly due to her upbringing in the Italian Alps, her relationship with her paternal grandfather who owned areas of protected forest and her ongoing passion for plants and ecosystems — Irsara also studied Country Care and Conservation at Capel Manor in North London. Within the context of the Anthropocene Epoch, where human activity has been the dominant influence in altering the geographical landscape, Irsara contemplates ideas of symbiosis as a strategy for human survival.

Irsara is a member of the Quekett Microscopy club at the Natural History Museum.

Selected exhibitions: Crypt Gallery, The Bargehouse (South Bank), Tavistock Centre, London Canal Museum — ZERO CELSIUS + Museums at Night, Barbican Library, VZ Gallery, Islington Exhibits, Centro Trevi in Bolzano, ART BELOW billboard poster exhibition London Underground, Mile End Park (Art Pavilion) — Regent’s Canal Festival, Lauderdale House Gallery, Chelsea Library Gallery, 20/21 International Art Fair, Grand Marchè d’Art Contemporain in Paris, Affordable Art Fair, BREAKING THE MOULD — IAPMA international paper touring exhibition, ICA (LAB’05 and LAB’07 London Artists Book Fair, Islington Museum





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