Lightgift, a site-specific artwork by Mark Garry, will be unveiled in the main concourse of St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny (SLGHK) on 13 August 2018. Commissioned under the Per Cent for Art Scheme, the sculpture was selected by a panel of staff from St Luke’s, representatives from the Patient Partnership Forum, as well as members of Kilkenny County Council and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland.
The final selection was chosen as it responded to the new atrium space at St Luke’s Hospital. Lightgift is made up of a spectrum of seventeen colours and three hundred lines of coloured enamelled copper wire. It will change according to the seasons and the light that enters the space from various sources, and it has a different appearance depending on what angle it is viewed from. It is purposely designed to be almost invisible from beneath, so that it is light and gentle on the eye for both patients and staff, creating a calm environment. Yet it can be dramatic and surprising when viewed from the main entrance. Some have described it as similar to a rainbow of light or like the strings of a harp or guitar, evoking gentle musical references.
Artist Mark Garry sees the artwork as an ‘attempt to marry empathy and spectacle, subtly transforming this architectural setting. Using colour and light to create a positive situation in a way that is both dynamic and accessible.’
Edelle Nolan, Arts & Health Officer at SLGHK, describes Lightgift as ‘the perfect choice for SLGH and healthcare contexts, as it is purposely designed to appear very different from various angles. Sometimes it is a very subtle gossamer grey and almost invisible, from another perspective it is luminous and brightly coloured like a rainbow spectrum. This quality is a perfect metaphor for acute care, where sometimes the patient’s illness can appear insignificant and almost undetectable and at other times very large and noticeable. Healthcare providers endeavour to look at the patient from various angles and perspectives within the hospital, to give the best possible care. So many experts are needed to help the patient, from the receptionist to the X-ray staff to the catering department, surgery and laboratory staff, all working together like strings of an instrument to create the desired result. The artwork also changes with the seasons and light available throughout the day and this keeps it fresh and engaging for staff, who may work in the hospital for several years and see it every day.’
Mark Garry notes that he ‘grew up across the road from a hospital where both my parents worked and I understand both the positive and stressful dynamics of hospital life and the I feel that placing this work at the point where patients and visitors enter the building and where the staff enter their workplace could act as a positive reinforcement for the remarkable work that happens at the hospital on a daily basis.’
Born in Mullingar in 1972, Mark Garry has held exhibitions at museums and art venues in Ireland, England, Germany, France, Italy, Lithuania, the USA, Australia and Asia. He was one of the artists who represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Mark’s artwork is held in a number of national and international private collections as well as the collections of the Arts Council of Ireland and The Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Ann Mulrooney, CEO of the VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow, will officially launch the sculpture on Monday 13 August 2018 at 4.30pm in the main concourse of SLGHK. The launch will be followed by a performance by Arreglos String Quartet at 5.30pm. An eclectic new string quartet comprised of Kilkenny-based musicians and international musicians living in Kilkenny, Arreglos String Quartet are Jacqueline Burke of Paris Swing fame, Beatrice Kelly who plays with the Kilkenny Community Orchestra, Anne-Carolina Distel and Kate Powell on violin. The collective has created new arrangements of contemporary music for strings and also performs classical favourites. Both events are part of the AKA (Alternative Kilkenny Arts) Fringe Festival.