During this conversation between artist Asbestos and Logan Sisley, curator of the Beuys 100 centenary exhibition From The Secret Block to Rosc, the mural ‘Pass Freely’ commissioned by the Hugh Lane Gallery is discussed.
Pass Freely by Asbestos is a large mural located at 40/41 O’Connell Street in Dublin City, 5 minutes from the Hugh Lane Gallery. Asbestos describes his work outlining how:
‘Over 10 days in June I painted a figure made up of 4989 individually painted burnt matches on the side of a building in the centre of Dublin. Each match represents the life of a person who has passed away in Ireland during the Covid pandemic, each extinguished at a different stage of existence. Each life cut short, along with their hopes, ambitions and the memories. After I finished painted each match I repeated a quote from Joseph Beuys “Pass Freely from one level of existence to another”.
The quote was inspired by my fascination with Beuys’ work and his blackboard drawings in the Hugh Lane Gallery. I also drew inspiration from his visit to Ireland where he spoke in the gallery about the soul and its transition between different levels of existence. For me, this quote offers hope after the Covid pandemic. Although each individual has passed away, their memories and impact on the world and those around them still resonates. So, each time I painted a matches on the mural I repeated this quote in their honour. When you stand back and view the work from a distance it forms a profile of me standing and looking up, with my hands raised to the sky. This symbol unites the many intertwined matches to form a single representation of hope. United we are stronger.’