3 out of the 5 Island City public art pieces have been installed in the city centre as part of the Fáilte Ireland-funded initiative, supported by Cork City Council. Pádraig O’Connor takes a look.
The comparison between local (contemporary) artists with Duchamp, Rodin and Giacometti - all dead white men from the art historic canon - amused me. While a comparison with other European cities who are investing into art trails around their cities would be much more beneficial. Cork does not have a tradition of contemporary sculpture within the city center although there are experiments in Tramore Park that resulted in a recent exhibition at MTU. In my opinion sculptural interventions or installations in our contemporary spaces have the task to surprise, make us look at or frown at something new and unseen. While a lamp post might be somehow unattractive (or rather unspectacular) for people walking on Oliver Plunkett Str, it uses the knowledge of Cork‘s citizens - have they seen a similar lamp post here before? Where did it come from? Public sculpture should not be as in-your-face as the author might like it, but play with the familiarity of its citizens with their streets and potentially use the factor of surprise... but maybe the almost too easy comparison with the art by old white dead men is simpler to understand as to approach it with childish curiosity and the opportunity to learn about contemporary ideas.
Rodin's early work was not critically acclaimed although his later work is, of course, much celebrated. In terms of verbose descriptions, Rodin described his work Gates of Hell "[The artist] must celebrate that poignant struggle which is the basis of our existence, and which brings to grips the body and the soul. Nothing is more moving than the maddened beast, perishing in lust and begging vainly for mercy from an insatiable passion." Whereas he described his most famous work, The Kiss, as "a large sculpted knick-knack following the usual formula" - beauty is in the eye of the beholder and art can be decorative but can also make us think - which objective these pieces in Cork have successfully achieved! Keep up the great work!
Announcing the projects, Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport, Gaeltacht and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. said:
“The projects allocated funding through Fáilte Ireland’s Urban Animation Capital Investment Scheme will help re-invigorate these urban areas and increase their tourism appeal. This is important in attracting visitors to our towns and cities and increasing dwell time to support local tourism and hospitality businesses and jobs. It is also important to note that these projects will be sustainable and in line with environmental best practice. This funding announcement further strengthens this Government’s commitment to developing the regions as outlined in the ‘Our Rural Future’ plan.”
So there you have it…
I saw Sentinels before I knew it was part of this trail, and my initial response was, oh that's interesting! So I'm not against it at all. It's postmodern but reasonably intelligible - at the lowest level, it's an interesting sight that makes a junction more appealing.
The Green Shoots street light I haven't seen, but from the pictures I can see what they went for - a street light that had a blade of stalk curling away and like organic. It's simplistic but not bad, and at least has utility.
Face Cup... There's little good I can say. Never mind needing knowledge of art to decipher, you would need to know that what looks like an infant's first go with clay is actually an historical artefact. It just looks awful unfortunately, and I believe they painted over old ghost signage to put the modern blocked paint behind the pieces. It's ugly and a little embarrassing.
I guess over all, this is an ambitious plan and you can't win them all. I'm all for supporting the arts, but maybe supporting creative spaces would be as valuable a use of money. The old FÁS building remains rubble, the Camden courthouse is gone too. But kudos to the corpo for trying, this is still much better than kids scribbling swifty or chippy in every wall they can find! 😁
"uninitiated layman" stop writing about art challenge
Seems like a total waste of taxpayers money. Not surprising it's by bord fallshort and a local counci
Hard talk.will get people to have a real look.maybe what's wanted.Love John Hogan myself.
How many council houses would 670k build? I say that as a doner to the arts.I fully appreciate the value of art in all its forms but I walk past these pieces every day.They are a waste of money and time.
Honestly the Cow Up a Tree by John Kelly we had in Emmet Place about a decade ago offered more than these do. That was at least fun.
Yes, I agree. This was an interesting read, thank you. I think functional art is the only way to go these days when money is needed in other areas. Some type art that meets nature perhaps would be good. The art mentioned here are better suited to a museum (in my opinion). I will say I haven’t seen the art in person.