The first Nissan Art Project, a major new competition to create art in the public domain, has been awarded to Irish-born artist Frances Hegarty and British installation artist Andrew Stones. Their collaborative work was selected from 90 entries for the £40,000 project and involves presenting extracts of Molly Bloom’s monologue from Joyce’s Ulysses in neon, in selected locations in Dublin City Centre. The decision of the international jury was announced on Wednesday 26 March at the Irish Museum of Modern Art by Gerard O’Toole, Executive Chairman of Nissan Ireland, sponsors of the project.
The nine neon texts, entitled For Dublin, will be realised in July. Each sign will be placed in a prominent site in the public domain; which will counterpoint and add resonance to the location. The artwork proceeds from the idea that in Molly Bloom’s seemingly intuitive stream of words – no less than in the activities of the male characters in Ulysses – we can find a ‘map’ of the city, presented in terms of a humorous and ironic appraisal of its daily life. The work renders the fictitious Molly’s words in the bold, seductive medium of neon, a form more often associated with the upfront declarations of modern advertising.
Commenting on the project Gerard O’Toole said “Nissan Ireland is delighted with the response to this unique project and has enjoyed immensely working in collaboration with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the distinguished panel of both national and international judges. Entries were received from the arts community around the world, reflecting the huge interest in this imaginative project.”
Declan McGonagle, Director of the museum and Chair of the jury panel highlighted the range of submissions from which the work For Dublin by Hegarty and Stones was selected. “The work plays with the idea of the city space, the idea of Dublin and its buildings, the conventions of advertising and psychological fragments from a key character in Ulysses, whose words are already in the public domain. It makes the sort of engaging and challenging statement which was needed for the first project on this scale to be undertaken by the museum with the support of Nissan Ireland,” he said.
Frances Hegarty was born in Teelin, Co Donegal, later emigrating to Scotland, and then to England. Her recent video installations Turas (Journey), Gold, and Voice-Over have all been shown in Ireland – in Belfast, Derry and Dublin. Her work has also been included in a number of large survey shows, including From Beyond the Pale and Distant Relations at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and recently in L’Imaginaire Irlandais in Paris, and has been widely covered by Irish press and television. Frances Hegarty recently completed and installed the large public art work Point of View in one of the pier 4A walkways at Heathrow Airport, under the auspices of the Public Art Development Trust. She is currently Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University.
Andrew Stones was born in Sheffield, England. Throughout the late 1980s and early 90s he exhibited widely within the international video circuit, producing large-scale installations such as Class, Geiger, and The Conditions. His single-tape video works include A History of Disaster with Marvels for Channel 4 television. Andrew Stones is currently researching a project/publication for Dublin city with the Project Arts Centre. He has acted as technical supervisor in the installation of all Frances Hegarty’s major projects in Ireland, and is currently Practising Fine Art Research Fellow at the Manchester Metropolitan University.
The Nissan Art Project, created and organised in association with the Irish Musuem of Modern Art, is one of the largest visual art sponsorships in this country. It is intended to give artists working in any medium an opportunity to extend their practise to make a new temporary work for the public domain. This is defined as any space or process to which the general public has ready unmediated access. The project is open to Irish artists working in Ireland or overseas and to non-Irish artists who have a defined involvement with Ireland.
The members of the jury are Sandra Percival, Director of the Public Art Development Trust, London, a leading authority on public art; the distinguished Japanese curator and critic Fumio Nanjo; Dr Ciaran Benson, Chair of the Arts Council; Jim Barrett, Dublin City Architect and Brenda McParland, Curator of Exhibitions at the museum. The panel is chaired by Declan McGonagle, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
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