Described by its creator Luke Franklin as “An Art Project About Adventure”, the 4 Bothies Project is a wonderful idea that celebrates exploration, intrigue, and (if you’re lucky) discovery. Consisting of four unique spaces, each ‘bothy’ is hidden somewhere in Ireland, with the artist giving little else away about each ones location.
Traditionally found in the highlands of Scotland, a bothy is a small structure intended to shelter travellers from the elements. Franklin was so taken with the idea of these structures that he decided to create his own. Yet unlike the Scottish bothies, these places are designed for art. They are unofficial, unlocked and – most importantly – free for anyone to use.
A recent graduate of Central Saint Martins, the artist worked on the project with producer Michael Donnelly, photographer Eoin McLoughlin, art director Adam Ozmin and writer Dave Tynan. Built earlier this year, the 4 Bothies consist of a library, a study, a studio and a gallery. According to Franklin there is one in the north, one in the south, one in the east and one in the west, but as for their exact location, that’s for you to discover.
“They’re out there now,” says Franklin “still to be found”. For him, going to find one is more important than all the reading and looking you can do on the project’s website. “Get out of the gallery” read the final words on the artist’s statement. “Art’s not just soft hands”.
You can find out more about 4 Bothies on the project’s website or ideally set out and find one yourself before the wilderness takes them away.