‘Elements of Exploitation’

Elements of Exploitation

Shortlisted for the National Art Competition (UK) 2010.

This research began with my investigation as a visual artist, not a historian, into ‘Monto’ a notorious Red light district (in its prime in the 19th century) located in the heart of Dublin. Through discussion and research at my open studio in a gallery, in a bookshop. I invited the public to contribute to my research (Open source approach) and many people including historians, the informed, the uninformed, the misinformed etc. etc. attended.

After six months of open research I came to the conclusion, that this district was not what was perceived by the public, a red light district. Interestingly most Irish writers from the 19th and 20th century, record ‘Monto’ as a jovial exciting and taboo place.  It was in fact more like an illegal, disreputable den of iniquity a `black-economic zone ‘where the police found it hard to keep control. Not only prostitution existed but smuggling, dealing in contraband goods, child trafficking, wheeling and dealing in illicit goods, including anything illegal, one should desired. The authorities more or less turned a blind eye to the activities in this area even though they did raid it from time to time as a token gesture of concern and to raise and generate a substantial income from fines raised from the prostitutes for illegal soliciting. (Luddy, 2007)

I believe these illegal, black economic zones existed all over the British Empire and were an integral part of the colonial ´machine`. The Roman Empire and even USA’s activities during the 2nd world war (Catch 22 scenario) and its presence in Vietnam and other parts of the world show evidence that these ‘black-economic zones’ exist and were used to accumulate vast undeclared wealth.


Boyd Gary, “Legitimising the illicit – Dublin’s Temple Bar and the Monto, Tracings”, Vol 2, The School of Architecture UCD, 2003.

Bullough Vern and Bonnie, Women and Prostitution – A Social History, New York, Prometheus Books, 1987.

de Sade Marquis, Quartet, London, Panther Books Ltd, 1964.

Fagin terry, Monto: Madams, Murder and Black Coddle, Dublin, North Inner City Folklore Project, 2000.

Finegan John, Story of Monto, Cork, Mercier Press, 1978.

Johnston Mairin, Around The Banks of Pimlico, Dublin, Attic Press, 1985.

Levin June and Madden Lyn, Lyn: A Story of Prostitution, Cork, Cork University Press, 1987,

Luddy Maria, Prostitution and Irish Society 1800 – 1940, Cambridge, Cambridge University press, 2007.

Madden Lyn, Lyn’s Escape, Cork, Cork University Press, 2007.

McGinn Thomas A J, Prostitution, Sexuality, and the Law in Ancient Rome, New York, Oxford University Press, 1998.

O’Kelly Emer, The Permissive Society in Ireland? , Cork, The Mercier Press, 1974.

Prunty Jacinta, Dublin Slums 1800 – 1925 – A Study in Urban Geography, Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 1998.

Reynolds Paul, Sex in the City – The Prostitution Racket in Ireland, London, Pan Books, 2003.

Walsh John Edward, Rakes and Ruffians – The Underworld of Georgian Dublin, 1979 (4th edition).

Wren Jimmy, Crinan – Dublin, A History of 13 North Inner City Streets, Dublin, The North Inner City Folklore Project and Alliance for Work Forum, 1993.

JPKInsella.Elements Of Exploitation,2009. 4mx4m, 19th century objects.

Dimensions – Height: 360cm (12ft), the highest point of the sculpture, the lamp post is 12ft, all the other items are variable but lower than 12ft. Width: 

Details below.

Detail 1           Detail 2.

Detail 3.                  JK_28x (427x640)





About jamespkinsella

James P Kinsella is an award winning research based Visual Artist practicing in Vienna, Austria. In 2010 he received his M.A. in Visual Arts Practices from Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. He won a first-round award and exhibition in 2017 and 2015 at ‘Art Olympia’, International open art Competition, Tokyo, Japan. He participated both in photo::vienna: werkschau 2014 and 2015, an annual juried retrospective of contemporary photography in Austria at the MAK, Vienna. He participated and received a bursary/grant award at the 1st International Artist Initiatives Istanbul Meeting 2009, a parallel event of the 11th International Istanbul Biennial, where he presented an intervention called ‘’Cafe Idea’’. Since the early 2000’s he has exhibited extensively in Ireland and Internationaly.in group shows.