2005: York Street Flats

York Street Flats - Fireplaces

Over a six month period from July 2005 I visited a flats complex in York Street Dublin which was demolished in 2006. I took photographs of the exteriors of the complex and of the abandoned rooms. I also spoke to the three remaining tenants who gave me access to the building. I wanted to document the spaces and history of the flats and to register the lives of the people who lived there. The images attempt to show the physical spaces and social links that sustained the people who lived there. The hearth of many of the flats was photographed. The hearth has a special significance in Irish culture as literally being the heart of a home. Originally the fireplaces in these hearths were larger and could accommodate a grate upon which food could be cooked and water boiled.

Each hearth was individualised by the tenants. Choices regarding wallpaper, paint, tiles, ornaments and other abandoned objects give clues about the people who lived in each flat. Though many of the flats had by 2005 been abandoned for years each hearth still shows signs of warmth and signs of the character of the tenant that lived there.

These photographs were printed on 30inch by 30inch panels and were displayed at ev+a 2006 in Limerick City. It is my intention over time to upload more photographs of this flats complex overtime.

Chris Reid

"A looming sense of loss of a different kind can be found in the photos of Chris Reid, which depict a series of Georgian interiors of houses awaiting demolition. Empty and abandoned, the images speak loudly of lives lived and times changing."

Katerina Gregos, curator of ev+a 2006. ev+a catalogue essay 2006.

"Chris Reid’s poignant photographs of deserted homes in Dublin’s inner city, cleared to make space for development, highlight the human elements that are sometimes lost in abstract social and economic conceptualisation."

Paul O’Brien, Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design. Circa 116, summer 2006.