Carraig-na-gcat is the Albers Foundation's new artist-in-residence program in West Cork, Ireland. Located in a traditional farmhouse about two miles from the fishing village of Glandore, it offers wide views of untouched countryside, the ocean, and distant islands.
Carraig-na-gcat is for artists that are interested in spending time in a calm and somewhat isolated part of the world. Here you can sit on a bench gazing over the fields and the sea, walk through the hilly landscapes, or go down to the rocky beach for a swim, if you don’t mind the cold water. You can paint or write in the old stone house in the garden, or read a book by the fire place in the library. There is no Internet connection in the house, but an exceptionally friendly local population should one want company and good craic, which is the local word for banter and chat.
Every designer, every artist, every inventor or discoverer of something new is (in that sense) an amateur. And to explore the untried, he must be an adventurer. For he finds himself alone on new ground.
- Anni Albers, On Weaving
The Alberses both believed that living in a simple, functional manner was the best base for making art. Their house was well organised, and minimally furnished, and with its absence of clutter or decorative elements, it resembled a modern version of a medieval monk's cell. There was nothing on the walls, while the garage was full of artworks, lined up like matching books on a shelf. Josef's bed was a plain mattress on a base with short wooden legs. The desk, which he had made at Black Mountain College, consisted of two wooden planks, accompanied by a standard kitchen chair. Anni and Josef were committed to their art making, and knew that spending time on decoration would only distract them from their true devotion. We would like to offer visiting artists a similar kind of serenity, by providing a simple, beautiful environment in which artists can work without the usual distractions of their own home and everyday environment. We encourage artists to take the opportunity to live without Internet during their stay at Carraig-na-gcat. The experience of the world changes, when the habit of constantly reaching for outside information, fades away. Instead, we invite the artists to enjoy the landscape, read in the library, cook in the large kitchen, and, why not, even have the experience of boredom. We believe that the change of scenery, and the vacation from habitual activities, will translate into the thinking and into the work, so that new perspectives naturally arise - thoughts and connections that could never have been imagined, or prepared conceptually, in advance.
We have space for two artists working on small or large scale projects, with each enjoying the serenity of a separate, private bedroom with bathroom.
There is a large shared kitchen, a small wood workshop, a library, a very small gallery room, and a nice garden. Each artist will have their own atelier: one is located in the main house, while the other is in the separate, old stone house in the garden.
We are currently developing the library which will include, among other books, works by and about the previous owner of the house, the American scholar and psychologist Jerome Bruner.
To follow me, follow yourselves.
- Josef Albers
The Irish Gaelic word "Carraig-na-gcat" translates to "Rock of the Cats", and refers to a belief about fairy cats that steal the harvest. This is how the house with its surrounding area was identified for decades, but the name gradually disappeared, until now.
Nicholas Fox Weber first found himself in the house in 1970 when he and his parents stayed in it during a family holiday. This was a year before he met the Alberses - a meeting that would lead him to become the director of what we today know as The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. Back then, the house was owned by Estrid Good, a writer, translator and editor. In 1976 she sold the house to the American scholar and psychologist Jerome Bruner who kept it until his death in 2016, and whose family has graciously supported its new use for artists and writers through the Albers Foundation.
Carraig-na-gcat Artists in Residence
Clarisse Baleja Saidi
Writer in residence, August 2019
Carraig-na-gcat is best suited for visual artists, as well as for writers, but all genres are welcome. The only criteria for applying is a true dedication to whatever you do. In order to benefit the most from their stay, participating artists must be open to let go of possible strategies of self-representation during their time at Carraig-na-gcat, and willing to live without Internet, while instead dwelling into the process of working, without knowing the outcome in advance.
The stay is free of charge, but there is no stipend. We will provide an acceptance letter than can be used for fundraising.
The duration of a stay is generally 4 to 8 weeks, but this is flexible and to be determined in advance with the individual artists.
If you would like to apply, please send us documentation of a selection of your art work, and let us know a bit about your motivation for applying, and your ideal participation dates.
Matthias Octavio Persson