Dominique Rey
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Rose Garden

By Anne Mok

Art of Faith

Inspired by Sir Thomas Browne’s writings, Urne Burial and The Garden of Cyrus,
Dominique is interested in the intertwined notions of the cycle of life and death and
the afterlife. Here Rey is focusing on the origins of the word ‘paradise’ as a ‘walled garden’. Rose Garden presents an amalgam of found Iranian images and floral patterning of old Persian textile designs. These organic patterns provide a balance for the minimalist architectural form of the sculpture. The construction is a simplification of the layout plan of an ancient Persian garden: sharp geometric glass shapes are placed on concrete blocks. The delicate structure suggests an interesting contrast of meanings in which the lightness of life lingers on the brutality of death; fragility and perpetuation.

Shadow always goes with light. The transient span of life on earth is paralleled to the
volatile nature of shadow: it changes constantly with light and is never solid.
The projection of the shadow of Rose Garden may be seen as a continuation of life
that goes beyond earthen existence into another world: the timeless paradise. Partially obscured by sandblasted flowers are words from the introduction to “Gulistan”, by the Persian poet Sa'di: "But this rose garden will live forever".

Anne Mok 2010

More Light (Excerpt)


By Krzysztof Fijalkowski 2008


Untitled (Celebrated Violinist)

Dominique has interpreted the De La Warr Pavilion as a personal expression of its architect Eric Mendelsohn (1887-1953). The clean modernist lines of the white building and its nautical features act as a visionary metaphor which expresses Mendelsohn’s hope for his own life: a ship sailing into the future, representing a new start, a new course being navigated.

Dominique has cast several features from the building itself, in white concrete mixed with marble dust. The resulting objects have qualities which effectively contrast the smooth with the crystallised. The cast objects include the clock that used to hang in the Pavilion’s Edinburgh Room, a section of a door with a port-hole window, an air vent, and a section of a table. Individually and collectively, this miscellaneous assortment of objects symbolise and emphasise the clean white lines, and the curves and the circles which characterise the architecture of the building. The objects also carry with them an awareness of what the De La Warr symbolised for Mendelsohn. All the fixtures except the table are original, creating a juxtaposition of the old with the new - a theme which is consistent throughout Dominique’s work.

During her research, Dominique found in the Pavilion archive scraps of elaborately embossed wallpaper that had been used throughout the building in the 1960s. She has incorporated reminders of this wallpaper into the objects she has cast. Also found in the archive was a newspaper dating from 1936. Sections of a photograph from the newspaper, depicting performers in the Pavilion, have been enlarged and incorporated into the cast objects, giving these images the effect of being scratched and worn.

Hattie Gordon 1997

Salthouse 04
“The Glass Exposed To The Stone”

Dominique Rey’s work makes reference to both European and Islamic traditions. She draws on her dual cultural heritage (her mother is British, her father Iranian) in order to make visual poetry out of the narratives of simple events. This duality of source material is conveyed in the play of words of her sculpture entitled “trans-parent”, a large multi-media construction commissioned for the Foyer gallery at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design. “Shimmering with reflective layers of glass, silver leaf and stencilled imagery,” this work, made after her first visit to Iran, evokes her encounter with a culture both familiar and strange. Another large scale multi-media work, “Bell Tower,” wittily uses bags of cement and galvanised steel whilst “tear catcher” is an elegant construction of pierced steel and etched and sand-blasted glass.

Dominique Rey uses materials as a language, inscribing them with complex histories.  Her works have a strong sense of the monumental – not in an overbearing way but with delicacy and lyricism.

Manuel Chetcuti
May 2004

Press Articles
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trans-parent. Foyer Gallery, The Surry Institute of Art and Design.

Capturing Paradise, Braintree Town Hall Museum

Air Field. Seething Air Field.

Belling, Baby. Cable Street Gallery.