MLitt Art Writing School of Fine Art

Ciarán Mac Domhnaill (he/him)


Ciarán Mac Domhnaill is an Irish London-based designer, writer and curator. Ciarán’s practice engages with broadly defined political and societal issues that cover a range of topics, such as queerness, neurodiversity, social structures, identity, inner conflict, empathic design and the use of satire.

At the time of publication, Ciarán was an elected Student Representative and a candidate for the degree of Master of Arts in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art.


Alma mater

Glasgow School of Art, MLitt Art Writing

Amsterdam Fashion Institute, BSc (Hons) Fashion and Technology


Curatorial Review of “The Word for World is Forest” (2021)
Inner Conflict and gayness (2022)
Curatorial Proposal: The Metropolis of Abandonment (2021)
To do list (2022)
Don’t Believe Everything Yves Leather Tells You (2022)
The Disneyfication of the Gloryhole (2022)

Curatorial Review of “The Word for World is Forest” (2021)

Venue: Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD, United Kingdom

Dates: 29th of October to the 11th of December, 2021

Before entering the exhibition my tiny bladder demanded the restroom. Inside the toilet cubicle multiple activism stickers were affixed; evidence to the recent COP26 World summit and its patrons. Once my bodily requirements were fulfilled I made my way downstairs to the exhibition floor.

The title of the exhibition refers to a short novel published by Ursula le Guin in 1972. A Sci-Fi plot in which “humans colonise a planet and then set about felling trees, planting farms, digging mines and enslaving Indigenous peoples”.

On turning the corner, I am greeted by a large video installation. A documentary film on an Inuit communities in Canada’s Arctic. “I want to learn how to build an igloo” an Indigenous youth rightfully demands but the ice is melting and the traditions of old have been replaced by new technologies. The communities now inhabit solar-powered houses, drive snowmobiles and use semi-automatic weapons. The seals, polar bears, walruses and caribou no longer need to be hunted by the time-honoured harpoon.

Is this a dagger which I see before me?

-No, it’s an AR-15.

However, the new technologies are not seen as the obstacle; their adaptation was voluntary. The issues raised are the historical prejudices and the indetermination of ‘big government’ to recognise the importance of a sustained ecosystem and the role of the Inuit community within it.

At this exhibition the importance of inclusivity was apparent. Large font hand outs were made available, subtitles were displayed and the exhibition was wheelchair accessible.

Fig.2 Due to my height you will see my ‘viewpoint’ of the photography section.

Fig.3 A communal table with books and plants was placed at the centre of the gallery.

This allowed for a quiet space to read books that echoed the ecological subjects at hand. One of the books included was the aforementioned novel by Ursula le Guin. There was also the addition of literary non-fiction and documentary style texts that contributed to the science-based climate argument that the artwork reflected.

On viewing the photographs I noticed that there was no labels, text or numbers on the wall. Curiously, I asked the invigilator on duty and he said that it was was done for “stylistic reasons”. He did admit that because of this decision gallery visitors did not know where one artist starts and where the other ends. In essence, it became ‘form over function’ as artists became mistaken under this style of compromise. Be as it may, the topics raised are of concern and every artist presented their work for a shared purpose and a shared objective – The Word for World is Forest.


Written by Ciarán Mac Domhnaill




Inner Conflict and gayness (2022)

Project type: Writing and curatorial


Venue: Glasgow School of Art, 9-11 W Graham Street, Glasgow, G4 9LE, United Kingdom

Dates: 23rd to 25th of March


Proudly sponsored by Pipeworks and the Glasgow School of Art Student’s Association 








YVES: So Ciarán, how are we going to do this exhibition?

CIARÁN: Well first we’ll need to get an exhibition space and pretend that we can pull it off. I want it to be gay and funny. It’s a pity I am neither of those things.

YVES: I agree




YVES: I have secured the Barne’s space for March the 23rd, 24th and maybe the 25th.

CIARÁN: OK cool. I will put that on the poster




CIARÁN: Hell, or high water we need free beer if we want people to show up. But we don’t have a budget for it. I’ll try and get a sponsor that will take us seriously. I may need to pretend that I am a gay man. do you think it’ll work?

YVES: It might. Start sleeping with men.

CIARÁN: I am fearful of phallic objects and their descendants.

YVES: If you ever feel insecure think of something you like. Locks and clocks for example.







CIARÁN: Audience feedback is important. How do we get that on the day of the exhibition?

YVES: We’ll need to ask the audience to acknowledge their own inner conflicts.

CIARÁN: OK. I’ll leave space for that.




I, EXHIBITION ATTENDEE, acknowledge that ___________________________________________






CIARÁN: What inspires your work?

YVES: Fortune cookies and sometimes people.

CIARÁN: What do you do outside of painting me?

YVES: For millennia people have painted their Gods, muses, or poster boys. It is not about you. It is about everything that makes up you as a person. As a conflict.

CIARÁN: I’ll admit that you inspire my work also. Your flouting of conventiality and that you are never scared to use blatant symbolism. I find that admirable and it only adds to the delivery of the artworks’ humour.




CIARÁN: I need to name all these pieces. The big red gun is that a sculpture or an installation?

YVES: It’s a painting. It’s a painting installation.

CIARÁN: OK. I regret asking.




CIARÁN: Let’s retrace our steps to the figurative drawing of me that you will have at the exhibition.

YVES: I think you are scared of sex. Everybody is. There is beauty in the drawing but also incredible insecurity. Everything is covered.

CIARÁN: I agree that during the life drawing there was definitely insecurity.

YVES: You wouldn’t look at me in the face. Previously, I have drawn people and they have always looked at me in the face.

CIARÁN: I can also see the insecurity in that I am lounging but you have squeezed me into a portrait. It shows discomfort.

YVES: Yes. And the lack of colour also. You are scared to be “seen”. Your nipples are covered. Men are often covered. It is toxic.


Andy: Yes, they did. Yves is trying to do work that is so simple that is actually quite complex at the same time. They are trying to throw the viewer off that they are simple references or simple symbols, but they are not simple


CIARÁN: Yes, blatant symbolism


ANDY: What I admire about Yves is that they are so committed to the work and confident that they have got their life and soul, insecurities, all the things that are conventionally anti-masculine, fragility, sensibility, loneliness, concerns




ANDY: All the things that I have had to spend six months knowing and learning from Yves. Lust but not knowing how to programme it. They are in there but if 80% of the viewers don’t get it; is it successful work? I don’t know but I think they have made the right decisions doing it. The attitude “I can’t do it any other way”


Writing and curation by Ciarán Mac Domhnaill



Barnes Building

Photography and styling by Jack Thomson

The late Ciarán Macdomhill (sic) (2022). Centre piece: Sweet Prince (2021). Complimented by other things

Exhibition stamps

Blowfish & Wrapper

Photographs of Yves Leather in Collaboration with Photographer Jack Thomson 841 x 1188

Curatorial Proposal: The Metropolis of Abandonment (2021)

In collaboration with the spatial designer Taeyoung Ro


Selected artist

History and context

Final display

To do list (2022)

Project type: Writing

Contribution to the student-led zine Split Ends (2022)

Publication sponsored by the Glasgow School of Art Student’s Association

To do list

Don’t Believe Everything Yves Leather Tells You (2022)

Project type: Writing and curatorial


Venue: The Pipe Factory, 42 Bain Street, Glasgow, G40 2LA, United Kingdom

Dates: 13th to 18th of July

This exhibition centres on gossip within a Queer context. Gossip and discussions of sexuality, especially homosexuality, have often been habitually bracketed off into lesser quotidian modes of communication activity, positioned outside the circuits of art critical meaning and exchange. We argue that a ‘serious’ contribution of gossip to this historiographical debate can be achieved through an ostentatious and unapologetic use of gossip before, during and after the exhibition. This gossip touches upon subjects of relationship, friendship, sex, sexuality, neurodiversity and the sale of art.


Primary Artwork by Yves Leather (they/them)

Many of the artwork in the exhibition are inflated tying into the idea of ‘inflated gossip’ and the use of inflatables in mattresses, sex toys and representations of naïvety. For example, Yves inflated their interpretation of a recent relationship with an American lover, a relationship that was fragile, easily punctured and is now standing at a point in which it needs to be ‘put to bed’. The art piece Spider Rock in Arizona (2022) is a romantic homage to this lover: An American rock, an American cock. Gossip surrounding this monolithic-style art piece has created many grey areas, truthfully Yves’s perception of the relationship might be unilateral and rather abstract. Hence, the reality of this unreality can be can be seen as a type of abstract romanticism that is translated visually into works that touch upon outsider art, graffiti, found art and abstract expressionism. The use of inflated toys and the installation of “literal objects” such as airplanes and dinosaurs represents the naivety of those who encounter Yves and wholeheartedly believe their anecdotes. Do you believe the love story? The artwork’s solicitation of its audience challenges the myth surrounding the autonomy of art. The artwork unmasks our group participation in this social phenomenon and the spectator’s lust for the spectacle.

During their time at the Glasgow School of Art, Yves has lived quite an individual subjective existence because they are committed to anti-formalism and spontaneity. The gossip and untruths change by the hour and get embedded into the very fabric of their artistic practice. The title of the exhibition can be seen as a form of self-abasement, however it can also been viewed as a more honest snd hopeful adventure into critical culture. One that is full of lies.


Photography by Jack Thomson (he/him)

The Glaswegian photographer Jack Thomson continues the topic of gossip by playing with the performativity of the inflated toys and the blatant use of chroma key compositing. The editing completed post-photoshoot demonstrates a transparent use of falsehood and deception to the viewer. One of the models captured is the artist Yves Leather who is placed in a pose that highlights their ambitions of being personified through unapologetic self-advertisement. The second model is the only heterosexual component of the exhibition thus far – in this image Jack skewers the ‘straight boy archetype’ and the reactionary components of gay culture through the exaggeration of sexualised inflated objects but in a non-ejaculatory fashion. The PVC inflatables are inanimate and alien but still remain very recognisable. In writing this text my position as critic is complex and inherently political because Jack is my boyfriend. This brings to head the vexed question of critical agency and what are the consequences of writing a negative review.


Writing and curation by Ciarán Mac Domhnaill


Exhibition Review 

Clara Raillard reviews the exhibition in MAP Magazine, 2022: ‘Landscapes of Rumoured Loneliness

exhibition space with mattress

I am a famous (2022) by Yves Leather

Exhibition space Pipe Factory Glasgow

The Pipe Factory, Glasgow

hide #1 and hide #2 (2022) by Jack Thomson

Wet Dream (2022) by Yves Leather