April 2014 – April 2015

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund

British Museum Site Excavation, © Liam O’Connor

British Museum Site Excavation, © Liam O’Connor

The Exhibition Road building project will be taking place over the next three years at the V&A, with the aim of building a new exhibitions gallery, opening in 2017. As part of the project, we will have a series of three year-long, part-time residencies that will respond to and document the various stages of the build. The first in this series is a Drawing Resident, Liam O’Connor, who will be based in a studio at the Museum for a year, on a part-time basis, from April 2014.

Liam's work explores the rituals, patterns and the accumulation of time that bind us to a place in physical and imagined ways. Drawing is at the core of this; it has always provided a space for contemplation and experimentation that creates a richer understanding of the world.

Liam studied at both London College of Communication and the Royal College of Art. He has recently been the artist in residence at the British Museum where he also worked on creating work inspired by a building site.

Liam with his final drawing at the British Museum, © Liam O’Connor

Liam with his final drawing at the British Museum, © Liam O’Connor

Building Site

The building site is an island within the city, a territory relinquished in one form waiting to be claimed by another. Hoardings form a physical boundary, we are asked to look the other way until the building is complete, but what is taking place within this environment is extraordinary. It reveals the transformative nature of our cities.


Once you have spent a lot of time drawing, everything becomes a drawing. I am really interested in finding drawings in the landscape, where a process or an object has made or left an image of itself, these images/objects always speak of both a presence and an absence.

Clayboards in display cabinet, © Liam O’Connor

Clayboards in display cabinet, © Liam O’Connor

My residency

My aim with the residency is to create work that is informed by both the building site and the V&A. The plaster cast collection is one area where I feel the two cultures can meet.

A lot of my drawings are made from direct readings of objects or surfaces through rubbings, prints and photograms. I am interested in further developing ideas of facsimile in my work in response to this collection.

The building site is an architectural performance evolving through many forms on its journey to the completed structure. I am interested in capturing this fleeting or fragmentary architecture that becomes inaccessible over time. The origin of the plaster cast collection, as an educational tool, capturing pieces of architecture that were inaccessible by geography, provides a really interesting place to start.


Follow Liam on the Artists in Residence Blog

Visit Liam’s website

Follow Liam on Twitter @liamoconnor919


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David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor by Terry O'Neill (Limited Edition Print)

David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor by Terry O'Neill (Limited Edition Print)

David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor, photograph by Terry O'Neill, 1974 Signed by Terry O'Neill. Limited edition of 50. © Terry O'Neill / Firepine…

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Event - Gallery Talk: What is Chamber Music? Domestic music-making in the 17th and 18th centuries

Thu 23 July 2015 13:00–14:00

TALK: Resident artist Liam Byrne will give a lecture recital on the viola da gamba and its role in domestic music-making in Britain and on the continent. Liam will guide visitors through different gallery spaces, playing music corresponding to the period of the collection.

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