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Here in Paradise

Artist Name(s) Jochen Gerz
Artwork title Here in Paradise
Context/Background Sneem is small rural community in Co. Kerry, with a population of approximately 200 inhabitants. Situated on Iveragh Peninsula in the Ring of Kerry, Sneem is an international tourist destination. The village houses Sneem Sculpture Gardens, which features an array of sculptural work by Irish and international artists. Following their silver medal award in 2013, The Sneem Tidy Towns committee commissioned Jochen Gerz to create an artwork as part of their submission to the National Tidy Towns Competition 2014. Two years after his well-publicized outdoor exhibition The Eyesore Show: Where has the Tiger gone? (which resulted in the first sale of a ghost estate by NAMA), Here in Paradise aimed to ‘continue the public dialogue’ in the iconic Kerry destination.

Here in Paradise was an outdoor exhibition installed in the North and South Squares of Sneem’s Sculpture Gardens (31 May-18 September 2014). The exhibition presented documentation of Gerz’ socially engaged project involving 40 of Sneem’s inhabitants. 40 portraits of inhabitants and their 40 textual responses (mounted on aluminium plaques, 45x60 cm) were displayed using 20 metal signposts erected in the public space.


Aidan Dunne ‘People of ‘paradise’ take us behind Sneem’s postcard image’, The Irish Times, June 12 2014


Jochen Gerz was born in Berlin 1940. He represented Germany at the Venice Biennale 1996 but spent most of his professional life in Paris before deciding in 2007 to settle in Sneem, Kerry, Ireland. His participatory works on 20th century memory in Europe radically alter the relationship between art and viewer. They transcend social boundaries and broaden the access to dialogue and authorship.

Further biographical details can be found on the artist’s website:



Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Sneem Tidy Towns Committee
Commissioning process Invitation
Public Presentation dates May 30, 2014 - September 17, 2014
Partners Kerry County Council;  German Embassy;  French Embassy;  The Goethe-Institut, Dublin
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Kerry County Council
Location North and south public squares of Sneem Sculpture Gardens
County Kerry
Town Sneem
Content contributor(s) Web Editor
Public engagement

For the project, Gerz invited all of the village’s inhabitants to participate, with 40 accepting. They were asked the three following questions:

“If you had, as in the old days, a free wish, what would you wish for Cul Fadda (a ghost estate situated in Sneem)?

…what would you wish for Ireland? 

…what would you wish for Europe?"

Their answers and photographic portraits were presented as a self-portrait of the village. The portrait of each inhabitant was not positioned adjacent to their own answers. By redistributing the responses, Gerz aimed to emphasize the fact that ‘diverse personalities and opinions all make up a community’. He sees each person as ‘symbolically minding’ the opinion of another. “The idea of being a keeper of the other, of taking responsibility for the other, is very important,” he says.

Further details can be found on the artist’s website:

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Photography by Peter Zoeller

Public Relations Jane O'Sullivan

Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan opened the exhibition

Jean-Pierre Thebault – French ambassador

Eckard Lübkemeyer – German ambassador