Public Arena

Artist Name(s) Jos van der Pol & Lisbeth Bik
Artwork title Public Arena
Context/Background Public Arena was commissioned under South Dublin County Council's In Context 3 public art programme, of which the principle component was to create time for the artists to engage with the context.

In 2007 Bik van der Pol noticed a half finished site. A nice green pitch, a half built concrete stand, with fences all around. Nothing seemed to happen there, even though it was located in the very heart of Tallaght, where new construction developments, such as hotels, shops, housing and office facilities, rapidly arose and surrounded this silent site. This site was Tallaght Stadium, a contemporary ruin where time seemed to have frozen.

This site proved to be a major conflict zone in which two sports clubs (soccer club Shamrock Rovers and the local Gaelic football club Thomas Davis) and South Dublin County Council were the main players. The construction of Tallaght Stadium began in October 2000, but had been delayed due to financial problems and legal disputes between the two sports clubs. Finally, after a long period of court cases, the first soccer game in the finished stadium took place in spring 2009.

The controversial history over the use of this stadium created a focus on this public space of shared interest. This site was, long before it was brought into use as a community stadium, firmly grounded in Tallaght and its history should not just be erased and forgotten.


?Public Arena is a triptych using three distinct medium which explore, animate and celebrate the socio-political journey of Tallaght Stadium. These include:

?A video film (33 min.), made in collaboration with students of Tallaght Community School and produced by Ali Curran. The script for this work was compiled from verbatim interviews with people from all sides of the negotiations of the Tallaght Stadium initiative. The video work is accompanied by a publication designed by David Bennewith that includes the script for the work.

A neon public art work based on the Thomas Davis club motto: Nascann Dushlan Daoine (Challenge Unites People). ??A live installation and photo shoot with an enormous ball in Tallaght Stadium

Other events to mark the project included:

The Ball Event at Tallaght Stadium on 27 June, 2009. This involved an introductory talk by Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol, a screening of the Public Arena video and a live Installation and photoshoot on the pitch at Tallaght Stadium.??Public screenings of Public Arena video at Rua Red South Dublin Arts Centre on ?29 June-4 July, 2009. The Project Arts Centre continuously screened the film on a monitor from 13 July-1 August, 2009.

Finally, a live installation and photoshoot took place at the stadium.


Visual Artists Newsletter, July-August 2008.

Exhibition at RUA RED, South Dublin Arts Centre, November 2008.

Arts Week at the Big Picture, Tallaght included a preview of Public Arena and artist's talk.

A Public Arena poster was made available during the project from RUA RED, Big Picture and South Dublin Libraries.

A publication on Public Arena was produced in July 2009.


Bik Van der Pol (artists Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol) have been making work collectively since 1995. They explore the potential of art to produce and transmit knowledge, and they research methods of how to activate situations and to create platforms for collective activities. Recent exhibitions include One Day Sculpture, Auckland, (2009); U-Turn, Copenhagen; Marie Louise Hessel Museum/CCS Bard, NY; Van AbbeMuseum, Eindhoven; ISP Whitney, New York; Kiscelli Museum, Budapest (2008); Istanbul Biennale; European Kunsthalle, Cologne; Moscow Biennale (2007); INSA Art Space, Seoul; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; MOCA, Taipei (2006); Secession, Vienna; Cork Caucus (2005).
More information can be found on their website

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name South Dublin County Council
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By South Dublin County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 150000 - 250000 euro
Location Tallaght, South Dublin
County Dublin
Town Tallaght
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Rachel McAree
Relationship to project In Context 3 Project Manager



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