08th June 2009

Proposal No. 8

Function in the care of…

The media, on a regular basis, lambastes the art world, and the NHS, for spending money on artwork placed in hospitals. This is based on the ignorant belief that this money could go on a new hospital wing or medical equipment rather than on artwork, which in the eyes of the media serves no purpose. The fact that this money is pigeon holed for art work and does not come from funds that could go towards medical equipment is ignored by the media and fuels the anti-contemporary art attitude that made people laugh at the loss of art work in the MOMART warehouse fire of 2004.

I propose to invite a number of artists to work with medical equipment making companies in the development and production of such machinery. This could include an artist working on the design of a dialysis machine, scanners, wheelchairs, surgery equipment etc. This may also include artists working directly with patients and hospital staff, not in an art therapy manner, but as an artist in residence at the hospital. Each artist would be paid a full wage in relation to the people they are working alongside and be chosen by the possibilities within their practice to assist and function within the hospital environment.

By allowing the artist to engage in this way a level of functionality develops with their artwork beyond the functionality of art but possibly the functionality of the everyday. This may possibly trespass onto the realm of public art, in relation to Dave Beech’s idea of Spectator C and the philistine 1. This idea is not new and groups such as Artist Placement Group have been working on such concepts since the 1970’s. However by allowing the artist to work directly with medical equipment makers and the patients and hospital staff, the accusations made by the media and the belief that art serves no purpose is countered.

Possible artists: Keith Tyson, Paul Granjon, Art Club 2000, Carsten Höller, Katharina Fritsch. Olafur Eliasson

1. Beech D, Public Art after Virtue, Public Art Journal, The Magazine of Art and the Public Domain, Volume 1, Number 3, March 2000, pp 26-31.

Ben Jones

Keith Tyson Studio Wall Drawing: MC4, 1999 Mixed media on watercolour paper, 126 x 157cm. © Keith Tyson 2007

Keith Tyson Studio Wall Drawing: MC4, 1999 Mixed media on watercolour paper, 126 x 157cm. © Keith Tyson 2007

Paul Granjon, Furman and Me

Paul Granjon, Furman and Me

Art Club 2000, Untitled (Conran’s I), 8x10”, C-print,1992-93

Art Club 2000, Untitled (Conran’s I), 8x10”, C-print,1992-93

Carsten Höller Y, 2003     960 lightbulbs, aluminium, wood, cables, electronic circuitry, light signs, mirrors Overall Installation: approx. 1300 x 850 x 320 cm

Carsten Höller Y, 2003 960 lightbulbs, aluminium, wood, cables, electronic circuitry, light signs, mirrors Overall Installation: approx. 1300 x 850 x 320 cm

Katharina Fritsch, Rat King, 1993

Katharina Fritsch, Rat King, 1993

Olafur Eliasson Your Strange Certainty Still Kept, 1996, Water, light (stroboscope), Plexiglas, plastic, recirculating pump, wood

Olafur Eliasson Your Strange Certainty Still Kept, 1996, Water, light (stroboscope), Plexiglas, plastic, recirculating pump, wood

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