What Once Was Here is the title of the permanent exhibition of artworks by Vivienne Roche RHA, commissioned to express the wealth of archaeology discovered beneath and around the Hyatt Centric Hotel prior to its construction. Comprising ten individual artworks made in a variety of materials, this body of work is the artist's response to specific artefacts unearthed during the archaeological excavations. The earliest artefacts date from the 11th century and Vivienne has made artworks relating to finds from this, and subsequent, periods. The ongoing multidisciplinary research was of particular interest to her such as, for example, the fascinating genetic work on a 12th century leather shoe. 

Vivienne's approach was to examine the artefacts as they emerged from the ground and then work in a medium – cast bronze, plaster, leather or watercolour – that she felt most imaginatively reflected the material culture in which they were made. As the condition of the site and the objects found there were greatly enhanced by being preserved in or near water, her use of watercolour is apt for the large scale drawings of some of the artefacts.

One of her bronze sculptures reprises her own large-scale public work outside St. Patrick's Cathedral Sentinel (1994), which itself was inspired by a Viking needle found during an earlier excavation. 

Working from her studio in County Cork, Vivienne developed and executed What Once Was Here over an 18 month period, from March 2018 to September 2019. 

All substantial pieces, the largest work is the stucco plaster relief sculpture, which is three metres wide by one and a half metres high and the smallest sculpture is approximately one metre in height.

What Once Was Here comprises four unique bronze sculptures, a stucco plaster relief sculpture, a double-sided vellum and leather piece, and four large watercolour drawings, all integrated into the hotel as permanent reminders that what is new is built on what is past. 



Selected Works Timeline