Sole Source

Nancy Holt
Marley Park, Dublin, Ireland
2 in. (5 cm) diameter galvanized steel pipe, valve, water
10 x 16 x 16 ft. (3 x 4.9 x 4.9 m)

Gravity is the power source in Holt’s bucolic plumbing system, with water from an elevated reservoir flowing down through the structure of pipes into a pre-existing ditch. Dating back to the 18th century, this ditch is dubbed a “ha-ha” by Irish hunters because of the surprise they experienced when encountering it. While the galvanized steel stands out as a contemporary presence in an otherwise historic landscape, the technology used in this structure has existed in civilization for centuries. In ​Sole Source, ​Holt subtly integrates history and modernity, nature and industry, utility and art.


Writing by the Artist

Ventilation Series

Nancy Holt
Made of the standard materials of each system – plumbing, electricity, drainage, heating, gas, and ventilation – the sculpture are functional; the electrical systems light, the heating systems heat, the drainage systems drain, the ventilation systems circulate the air, and so on. Since the sculptures are exposed fragments of vast, hidden networks, they are part of open-ended systems, part of the world. Over the years these technological systems have become necessary for our everyday existence, yet they are usually hidden behind walls or beneath the earth and relegated to the realm of the unconscious. We have trouble owning up to our almost total dependence on them.

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