The Nissan Art Project for the Millennium – Bamboo Support by British artist Dan Shipsides – will be open to the public on 28 September 2000. Bamboo Support, which comprises a bamboo scaffolding structure attached to the facade of the Carlton Cinema building in O’Connell Street, Dublin, is the third Nissan Art Project, and follows the highly successful GHOSTHIP by Dorothy Cross (1999) and For Dublin by Frances Hegarty and Andrew Stones (1997). The project, organised and curated by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is sponsored by Nissan Ireland who have increased the budget from £40,000 to £100,000 for the millennium year. Bamboo Support will remain in place until 2 December 2000.
Over 12,000 metres of bamboo has been shipped from Hong Kong for the project. A team of seven workers from the Ever Need Company Ltd, a professional scaffolding company in Hong Kong, will erect the scaffolding using simple hand tools over a five-day period, under the direction of the artist and Museum staff with the assistance of Scafform, Dublin.
In addition to the visual impact of such an unusual structure in the capital’s main thoroughfare, Bamboo Support is intended to highlight the current redevelopment of Dublin in its role as a gateway to Europe in attracting overseas investment. The project also examines the cultural and economic parallels between Ireland and the Far East; between their turbulent tiger economics and our own ubiquitous Celtic Tiger. The artist’s choice of bamboo scaffolding, commonly used in many Asian countries, provides an aesthetically beautiful and contextually pertinent counterpoint to the steel scaffolding used within urban developments in Ireland. The project sets out to be an aesthetic experience for the public as well as drawing attention to some of the social and economic issues facing Dublin today.
The choice of the Carlton Cinema building – for its location, visual aspect and cultural / economic significance – is central to the work. The building’s current state of disuse represents a common phenomenon in the O’Connell Street area, with many buildings now earmarked for renovation under a major scheme for inner-city redevelopment. Architecturally it represents an earlier period of redevelopment in the 1930s, which was of particular note due to the recently established Irish Free State. Much of O’Connell Street had been destroyed during the 1916 Rising and the Civil War and the consequent redevelopment, dictated by city architect H T Rourke, was designed to introduce more uniform materials and height lines.
The Carlton Cinema is owned by the Carlton Group, who have kindly given permission for the project and is due to be redeveloped shortly after the end of the project.
Born in Burnley, Lancashire, in 1972, Dan Shipsides has exhibited in solo and group shows in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Chicago and Helsinki including the 1999 Melbourne International Biennial, the Art Gallery of Victoria, Canada; the Gimpel Fils Gallery, London, and the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. Recent projects have included Sporting Life, Sydney Olympics Festival Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia (August 2000), Dopplarity, Bank Tube Station and Hiscox Gallery, London (August 2000), Signs of Life, Melbourne International Biennial, Australia (May 1999), Perspective 98, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (Prizewinner, October 1998). Forthcoming exhibitions include Attractions, City Projects, London, and a residency at An Tuireann Centre, Isle of Skye. Dan Shipsides was formerly co-director of Catalyst Arts, Belfast.
The Nissan Art Project, sponsored by Nissan Ireland in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is designed to give artists the opportunity to realise major new temporary works for the public domain, defined as any space in the Dublin area to which the public has immediate access. Following the success of the two previous projects – For Dublin by Fran Hegarty and Andrew Stones (1997) and GHOSTSHIP by Dorothy Cross (1999) – Nissan Ireland announced in 1999 an increase in its sponsorship from £40,000 to £100,000 for the millennium year, making the project one of the largest visual arts sponsorships in these islands.
The members of the 2000 selection panel were:
* Sune Nordgren, Director, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead
* James Lingwood, Director, Artangel, London
* Mary McCarthy, Director, National Sculpture Factory, Cork
* Jim Barrett, Dublin City Architect, Dublin Corporation
* Brenda McParland, Head of Exhibitions, Irish Museum of Modern Art.
The panel was chaired by Declan McGonagle, Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art.
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