The Nissan Art Project for the Millennium - Bamboo Support by British artist Dan Shipsides - was officially launched at a lunchtime reception at the Gresham Hotel today (Wednesday 27 September). Bamboo Support, which comprises a bamboo scaffolding structure attached to the facade of the Carlton Cinema building in OíConnell Street, Dublin, is the third Nissan Art Project, and follows the highly successful GHOSTSHIP 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 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 was shipped from Hong Kong for the structure, which is 30m long x 20.5m high x 1.5m wide. A team of six professional scaffolding workers from the Ever Need Company Ltd, Hong Kong, supervised by company manager Albert Lai, erected 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 and 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 economies and our own much-talked-about Celtic Tiger. The artistís 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 by city architect H T Rourke in the 1930s, following the destruction of much of the street during the 1916 Rising and the Civil War. The Carlton Cinema is owned by the Carlton Group, who have kindly given permission for the project, and is due to be redeveloped as a shopping mall shortly after the end of the project.
Speaking at the launch Paul OíSullivan, Marketing Director, Nissan Ireland, said: "Nissan are delighted to be launching such a unique art project. We believe this, the Millennium Nissan Art Project, is testament to the tremendous talent of the artist who has merged two very different cultures with such a highly visual project. Bamboo Support will undoubtedly make a huge impact on OíConnell Street and to its public."
Declan McGonagle, Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art said: "This is a very subtle work of art which people will discover as they go about their day-to-day business in Dublinís main thoroughfare. Bamboo Support depends on the actual experience of moving through the urban environment and seeing something displaced from another culture, another place, which is relevant to the issues associated with development facing our society today."
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 projects 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.
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