The Sucrose Series- crystalisation continues to push Ink to new places.

I have been documenting the progress of the sucrose crystals in my work for a considerable time. This blog will take a look at some of the changes occurring in certain works recently exhibited at China Europe Contemporary Art Global Tour Shanghai curated by Ma Yiying and Longjingli.

Niamh Cunningham: (Photo 2018-03-21) Hui Yuan, Birds Nest, sucrose and mixed media, 20 cm diam

The crystallisation process has slowed down considerably over the past 10 months but it is still possible to see its traces as it pushes the ink within the mixed media. The ink which has been shifted by this process comes from two sources. Some of the interventions I make with this work involve ‘lifting off’ the surface ink and also I have added Chinese water colour ink to the mixed media of sugar and other secret ingredients.

This crystallization allows the painting process to continue after the creation event albeit minutely and so the painting continues to evolve, pushing the ink more obvious than in other parts.

A chronological look at some of the stages of the work.

Niamh Cunningham, Dublin Castle, sucrose mixed media, 20 cm diam 2018

Niamh Cunningham: Hui Yuan, Birds Nest , sucrose , mixed media, 20 cm diam 2018

Niamh Cunningham: Summer Palace – small, sucrose, mixed media, 20 cm diam 2018

Niamh Cunningham, Ha’penny Bridge sucrose, mixed media 2018 30×40 cm oval

As you can see there is a particular aesthetic just as the ink has been lifted into the mixed media and shortly after the sugar begins crystalisation. These stages are a key part of the artwork and it is the photography work on these stages which viewers are attracted to.


This series of work is process based work, the original work will be presented with  photographic prints which document key stages of crystallization within that particular artwork. This will allow the collector to re-experience the process up to the point of the original work sitting in front of them.