Elva Mulchrone: Res Ipsa Loquitur

31 October - 31 December 2020

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Gibbons & Nicholas presents RES IPSA LOQUITUR,  a solo exhibition of new work by Irish artist Elva Mulchrone. The exhibition displays a body of work which emanates from Mulchrone’s ongoing economic research at the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) and her more recent exploration into the scientific investigation of antibiotics at the Imperial College London. Conceptually driven, Mulchrone’s practice has hitherto examined the role of economics, mathematics, game theory and abstraction in the re-contextualisation and interpretation of who and where we are. Now, this investigation into the repeat patterns reflected by socio economic perspectives is made unequivocally more profound through her supervenient scientific inquiry. Equally, her ability to operate in a time-lag between argument and interpretation, between objective and subjective, to offer alternative meaning and understanding, is enhanced and more pertinent than ever within the context of our current socio-economic-virologic epoch.


Visual analogues can be traced throughout the exhibition as patterns and commonalities arise from each source of inspiration, the mathematical economics and the scientific. At junctures they seem completely interwoven and as the individual works are viewed as an oeuvre, we can see how these factors are at play within collective society, individual experience and in nature. ‘Economical Truths (2020)’, is a work that astutely comments on the state of contemporary society. Combining scientific and economic references to interpret and reflect upon the truth within truths and the real story inside the totality of information presented. The depth within the work, both in its vibrant red colour and linear perspective, embellished with delicate traces of antibiotic patterns that appear to float in and out of the surface, seems to pose questions that are remarkably timely.


Data concerning social immobility patterns in different contexts and probabilities, the result of research at LSE and the Paris School of Economics is a direct conceptual and visual influence within a number of the works. Likewise, the influence of the Imperial College is evident through the abstracted representations of antibiotic and bacteria on petri dishes. There is a strange symmetry through the rhythm and pattern repetition of these influences. In one sense there is comfort in the synchronicity, yet also a disconcerting awareness of our potential inability to break or alter such recurrences. That Mulchrone can trace such a pulse across the disciplines, from bacteria to voting patterns, demonstrates how perceptive her evolution from economics through to the bio-medical has been, as she continues to decipher the intertwined relationship between the two.


‘Absinthe II (2020)’ draws directly on both influences. It depicts numerical and lateral data that reflects research concerning Brexit voting patterns and social immobility. It is also an expression of research focused on approaches to overcome antibiotic resistance and tolerance. The repetition of circles, lines and numerical figures illustrates the visual data patterns of such analysis. Mulchrone says of the work,  “I am fascinated by the parallels conceptually between voters disinclination to be affected by factual information and humans disinclination to be effected by an antibiotic. Is there an inherent toxicity in our human situation?” Colour again plays an integral part within in the work, as the absinthe green, the bright lime hue, is attractive and associated with nature while equally symbolic of toxicity and danger, thus presenting the contradictions at play. This inebriant colour is also used in the inkjet ‘In Lime (2020)’, which is an abstraction of the presence of an antibiotic of last resort and bacteria on a petri dish.


Mulchrone lives and works between Dublin and London where she is completing an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art. She is an alumnus of the Economics and Business Department of Trinity College Dublin and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin where she graduated with First Class honours in Fine Art – Painting. She also studied at UdK (Berlin University of Arts) and researched at the WZB Social science Research Centre Berlin and Columbia University  NYC. Her extensive research background and active participation within the realm of economics give Mulchrone’s work a unique element of integrity and genuine intellectual curiosity that irradiates from the rhythmic depths of her work. Through this aptly named exhibition, RES IPSA LOQUITUR, Mulchrone’s artistic acumen, intuition and sensitivity speak for themselves.


RES IPSA LOQUITUR will be on exhibit from the 31th October to 26th November. Each of the works, accompanied by detail shots and installation views will be viewable through the online exhibition on the Gibbons & Nicholas website.



- Pamela Lee