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Work of the Week | 7 November 2022

CAG.1994 Suzy O’Mullane, Dial M for Milchofe, 1999, charcoal on paper, 140 x 234 cm. Purchased, 2000. © the artist.


There’s more than meets the eye in Dial M for Milchofe (1999) by Suzy O’Mullane…

As the title suggests, O’Mullane made this work in the late 1990s during a residency at Ateliergemeinschaft Milchhof (Milchhof Artists’ Studios) alongside fellow artists Tanya De Paor and Julie Forrester. Littered with curious objects from East Berlin, the studios – located at Schwedter Strasse in Mitte – inspired the artist’s composition which draws together these found objects into unexpected relationships.

Hovering at the top of this charcoal drawing, the handwritten title– followed by ‘mmm …’ – may recall the Alfred Hitchcock film Dial M for Murder (1954). Who is the crouched figure looking directly out at the viewer? Is there a connection between the bicycle and the rotary telephone? Could the severed phone cord spell out the ‘Anarchy’ symbol? Have you spotted the cat!?

Fun Fact: artist Ciara Rodgers recently responded to this work in An old fashioned drawing room mystery (2022) in which she ‘attempted to decode O’Mullane’s mysterious drawing, and in response, created my own symbolism through performative drawing actions.’

Suzy O’Mullane (b.1958) is an Irish artist based in Paris whose practice comprises painting, drawing, video, mixed media, and performance. A graduate of Crawford College of Art & Design, University College Cork, and Paris College of Art, she has exhibited widely internationally. Closer to home, the artist is also co-founder of ArtTrail Cork (1996-2002).

Dial M for Milchofe (1999) by Suzy O’Mullane is featured in DRAWING ROOM until 4 December.

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