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Cuchulainn III 1973
Wool Tapestry, woven by Tabard Frères et Soeurs, Aubusson
180 x 180 cm. Edition of 9.
The first Tain tapestry was commissioned by the architects Scott Tallon Walker for P.J. Carroll & C.'s cigarette factory in Dundalk, Co. Louth. While the subject of the Tain may not immediately relate to cigarettes, the location of the factory is close to the legendary action of the epic, so that the artist chose the theme to relate the local mythology. The Tain, which is an Irish word meaning "hosting" or gathering of a large crowd for a raid, gave the theme of the tapestry. It is a very large work (407 x 610 cms) with its surface completely covered in multi-coloured heads, all facing the spectator. These heads retain that relentless individuality of single beings having no relationship to their neighbour; lacking Roman order, there are no military ranks, no imposed external form, the mass of heads is held together by an inner, inherent order, like a flock of plover. "In this tapestry", le Brocquy has said, "I have tried to produce a sort of group or mass emergence of human presence, features uncertain - merely shadowed blobs or patches - but vaguely analogous perhaps in terms of woven colour to the weathered, enduring stone boss-heads of Clonfert or Entremont - or of Dysert O'Dea... This poses a difficult pictorial problem. Pictorially a mass of individuals, conscious of each other, implies incident - better left to photography perhaps. In Clonfert each individual head is conscious only of the viewer vertically facing it. This I think is the secret of their mass regard. Each head is self-contained, finally a lump of presence. No exchange or incident takes place between their multiplied features."