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Still life with…

The Hunt Museum Limerick, Ireland

June - July 2010



In Ireland, we have a theatrical culture that allows us to imagine what is behind the scene, but if I were to ask you what is behind the picture, you might be forgiven for replying ‘the wall!’ ‘Pictorial space’ is not in our everyday language. All the more reason to explore it. Still life with… offers us a walk through it. Like Alice through the Looking Glass, the work invites the spectator to step through the frame into that imaginary space behind the painting. It makes a bridge between old media - painting and sculpture - and new media - computers, video and digital printing.  It provides a meeting place for pixels and pigments, for moving and fixed images, for shimmering light and hard matter, for the flat and the rotund…

The project is inspired by Patrick Hennessey’s magnificent still life painting from the permanent collection of Limerick City Gallery of Art. Still life with... reconstructs the original still life as a 3 dimensional set, inviting the spectator to step right into the painting. This giant Still life then passes back into two dimensions, this time as video: three interactive video projections surrounding the set allow the visitor to become part of a series of ever changing new digital Still lifes, contemporary interpretations of the classical painting genre. The installation is being constructed in Limerick throughout the winter and spring of 2010. Eighteen young student teachers - from Mary Immaculate College at the University of Limerick - are busy building the giant fruit that will form the heart of the installation, while we ourselves are elaborating three interactive installations that will interpret movement and stillness. We hope—through this ground-breaking project—to push the boundaries of educational models for cultural projects, and so the choice of working with final year student teachers was a judicious one. The project will impact not only on the young people directly involved, but will resonate on future generations of children through the experiences gained by their teachers.

Once installed, Still life with... is as much about what is moving as what is still. The interactive video projections study moving bodies - people - and how they interact with the still objects of the installation.  Meanwhile easels invite visitors who might prefer a more traditional approach to take up a pencil and draw their own still life.  Depending on the visitor’s reaction, the exhibition can be a drawing exercise, a performance, a dialogue between old and new, a reflection on pictorial space... or simply a game.

3 June - 11 July 2010


Pippa Little (for LCGA)


Students from MIC

Allied Irish Bank

The Hunt Museum

  1. Installation photos. June 2010

  2. MIC workshops photos. Jan-June 2010

Above: Plan and section of the installation.

Left: detail of the carpet

Below left: MIC students working on the construction of the fruit.

Below right: Patrick Hennessey’s Still life from LGCA permanent collection.