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Sculpture (MA)

Doireann Gillan

Doireann Gillan is an Irish artist and divides her time between London and Dublin. Her practice finds expression predominantly in sculptural forms, though recently, it has expanded to include a video and performative dimensions. Her thesis Gag. Clench. Wail gained a distinction at the Royal College of Art.


2021-2023 MA Sculpture Royal College of Art.

2019-2020 Graduate Diploma in Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art, London

Recent and upcoming exhibitions

2023 RCA2023: Graduate Show, Truman Brewery, London (13-16 July)

2023 Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Standpoint Gallery, London

2023 Subterranean Organ, The Crypt Gallery, London

2023 One Night Stand, Camden Locks, London

2022 2030 Collective, Royal College of Art, London

2022 We Won't Stop Showing, SET Woolwich, London

2022 Penumbral Zone, Gallery 46, London


2021 Bursary from Women's Irish Network, London

A collage featuring a figure play with a bandsaw blade

Drawn to the humour of the absurd, Doireann explores how the body can be a vehicle for expression in a myriad of environments from sculpture to video to photography. 

She embraces the uncanny and the unexpected.

Doireann's practice examines the tensions between rage and restraint, ambiguity and certainty, the inviting and the repugnant. Her installations, both expansive and intimate in scale and subject, invite touch and interaction, yet continuously test boundaries. Much of her work exists in a state of extremely structured tension, prompting one to wonder what might happen if a piece were to unfurl, snap or collapse.

Driven by material inquiries into touch and textures, such as those found on blunt blades and stretched rubber, Doireann asks if the risk of cruelty has the potential to release a comedic charge. Can we feel more powerful by reclaiming pain in times of socio political crisis? Or does it trivialise meaning?

Bandsaw blade in nylon with glove on floor
“No choice but stand. Somehow up and stand. Somehow stand. That or groan. The groan so long on its way. No. No groan. Simply pain. Simply up." Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho, 1963
Worstward Oh NoVideo. Duration: 24seconds


Sprung steel, nylon and leather


4 unrecognisable objects laid flat on a surface
Obscure object
Obscure object on suede brik

Virtual mutations

It started by importing a digital scan of a deflated balloon into animation software. Objects bounced buoyantly; they crashed, collided, and twisted unexpectedly. The digital counterpart could be manipulated into behaving in a host of new ways once liberated from its original form, hinting at the malleability of digital culture and its undertones. 

Seizing the moment led to the creation of these digitally fabricated pieces: ambiguous objects that defy recognition or definition emerged.

Laying open questions concerning bodies that don’t conform.

Bodies that are other.


Gypsum plaster powder


Variable. Approx. 18cm x 14 x 14cm
Rubber resistance bands tautly suspended across a space
Rubber resistance band sits alongside welded metal hoop
Rubber resistance band tautly suspended over a hook on wall
Rubber resistance bands and hoops tautly suspended across a space

Hoops and bands

This installation examines the weight of institutional moral disapproval on the body. The traces it leaves. The pressure it places on the body to conform – and its desire to resist. 

Featuring a dialogue between tension, control and play, the zigzagging bands could be said to employ a visual language that maps the emotional, physical and political body in space. Or perhaps it's a perilous playground beckoning us to navigate its tautly held ropes? 

Noticing the small gestures: the burns of the welded steel as it meets the stretched skin of the rubber. Like awkward bodies sitting comfortably side by side, quietly at one with their differences. Dependent on the other to stay aloft.


Resistance bands and steel hoops


Variable / site specific
3 pieces of spiked mild steel sitting alongside one another
Crackers, 2023Medium: Mild steel Size: 28 x 17 x 17cm
Circular form with spikes on three legs
Untitled, 2023Medium: Mild steel Size: 23 x 30 x 30cm

At a time when politicians take pride in their ability to ‘clown around’, and employ levity to both disarm and obscure the truth, one can easily feel disheartened. My practice poses the question: is there a case for fighting silliness with silliness?  

three semi circle spiky metal forms shaped like a claw
Claw, 2023Medium: hot rolled steel. Size: 120cm x 23 x 75cm
Bandsaw blades wrapped around one another
Close ups of Bandsaw blades


Sprung steel bandsaw blade with acrylic paint


80 x 40 x 40cm