Open Letters: “It Smells Like a Village”

Artist: Maitiú Mac Cárthaigh

Page Not Found presents “It Smells Like a Village” by Maitiú Mac Cárthaigh, the third chapter in a new series of Open Letters!

The Open Letters project invites The Hague artists to occupy Page Not Found's large storefront window with messages of urgency and vulnerability.

“It Smells Like a Village” comes from a memory Mac Cárthaigh has of their father teaching them how to keep a domestic septic tank healthy. The text follows a recipe like a sourdough starter; but this fermenting mother prefers to gobble up things such as dead piglets. Alongside images of dark pits, roadkill, and sewage, the reader is brought along the emotional connection to rural scenes, which might feel grotesque for some, but familiar and mundane for others. Can a realistic image of rural existence be portrayed in this way as an act of bringing together? Having reached a point beyond urgency with their research, Mac Cárthaigh writes down these recipes not to pass on cyclical and non-destructive methods, but to make sure they are remembered at all.

Maitiú Mac Cárthaigh is an artist whose research practise navigates a departure from the Land by exploring the ever-widening divide between traditional farming and contemporary industrialised agriculture. They grew up in what they fondly call, the Back Ass of Nowhere in Ireland. Mac Cárthaigh spent most of their childhood on a pig farm as the eldest of four sons, helping their parents care for animals to slaughter. Here they learned the older methods of farming: systems and techniques which rely on what is to hand as a means to nourish. Mac Cárthaigh has previously completed a BA in Fine Art in Ireland. Currently they are in their second year of study at the Master Artistic Research at the KABK.

“It Smells Like a Village” is on view in Page Not Found's front window for the duration of a month, and is freely accessible from the street at any time.

Until 27 October
Boekhorststraat 126-128


Paviljoensgracht 20, 2512 BP Den Haag
Galerie Maurits van de Laar
Gallery Nono
Museum Rijswijk
West Den Haag