Art of getting kicks from soccer glory days


“THE NATION holds its breath” is one of the most recognisable phrases ever uttered on Irish television.

Those sitting the Leaving Cert this week won’t remember George Hamilton’s comments ahead of David O’Leary’s penalty against Romania in the 1990 World Cup, and are probably more familiar with the momentous days in Saipan and the more recent handball by Thierry Henry.

For those of an older generation, the Irish teams of the 1990s are legends of the game – to be idolised, not replaced.

In an art exhibit in Temple Bar titled Won-Nil, artist Nevan Lahart has tried to bottle the emotional charge that pulses through Irish veins when we remember the glory days of the past.

The work is a large circular playing field made of wood, found material and green tile carpet. Named 360 Degree Action Replay, the piece uses Styrofoam balls to trace the trajectory of two famous shots.

However, the artist won’t divulge just which shots and asks the public to figure it out.

Born in 1973 in Kilkenny, Lahart, who now works in Dublin, will also showcase two failed public art proposals for Temple Bar Gallery involving two prominent Irish public figures. To find out who they are, the public must visit the gallery between today and July 26th.

Despite the artist’s reputation for poking a finger in the public’s cultural eye, Lahart is also known to show the beauty in certain cultural moments in Ireland’s past, this latest exhibit being the most recent example.

The opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm, and entrance to the gallery is free.

Patrons are asked not to divulge to their fellow art enthusiasts what scenes from Irish footballing’s past are taking place.

The real question is: who put the ball in the Italian net?