‘Ghost Ship’, sculptor Dorothy Cross’s winning entry for the current Nissan Art Project for art in the public domain, will be realised in Scotsman’s Bay, Dun Laoghaire, in February 1999. The project, which involves the creation of a ‘ghost ship’ from a decommissioned lightship, was originally scheduled for October/November 1998. However, the unique and challenging nature of the project involving innovative technical processes as well as environmental issues, entailing negotiations with marine experts and authorities, has pushed the timing back to early 1999.
Ghost Ship is a personal homage by Dorothy Cross to the many lightships which once marked dangerous reefs around the Irish coast, but have now all but disappeared. The ship, generously loaned by the Irish Scouting Association, will be covered in luminous paint and at nightfall illuminated to glow and fade, evoking the poignancy of the disappeared lightships and the artist’s childhood memories, linked to her father’s love of the sea. Cross sees it as honouring “the memory of the lightships, whose presence was held dear around the Irish coast. The role of the sea has diminished for the Irish people and the view is inwards towards the cities.”
Commenting on the progress of the project Declan McGonagle, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which is curating the project, said: “This extraordinary project by one of Ireland’s best contemporary artists has thrown up considerable technical and environmental issues. I am glad to say we have been able to address these in preparation for Ghost Ship to appear early next year; particularly as the project, when announced, caught the imagination of commentators and public alike to an unusual degree.”
Gerard O’Toole, Executive Chairman, Nissan Ireland, said:”the Nissan Art Project has enabled us to become involved with some of the most creative visual arts concepts found in Ireland. Ghost Ship is exemplary of this culture and it has inspired unprecedented interest from both home and abroad. We look forward to its realisation next year.”
The Nissan Art Project, created and organised in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is intended to give artists working in any medium an opportunity to extend their practice to make a new temporary work for the public domain. This is defined as any space or process in the Dublin area to which the general public has ready unmediated access. The project was first realised in 1997 with ‘For Dublin’ by Frances Hegarty and Andrew Stones, which presented neon texts from Molly Bloom’s ‘Ulysses’ monologue in nine related city cente locations.
Born in Cork in 1956, Dorothy Cross’s work has attracted considerable international attention in recent years. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Philadelphia, Paris, Madrid and throughout the United Kingdom and has works in a number of prestigious public and private collections. In 1993 she represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale and was shortlisted for the Glen Dimplex Artists Award in 1995 and 1997.
3 December 1998
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