Space-age design for ‘iconic’ Limerick chimney

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

How the Cleeve's factory is expected to look later this year
IT appears to be a space-age design more suited to the Limerick of the distant future.

IT appears to be a space-age design more suited to the Limerick of the distant future.

But award-winning sculptor and multi-media artist Andrew Kearney is bringing his new installation ‘Tell Me Something’ to Limerick in September, giving an historic, and largely unused factory on the banks of the river a new lease of life.

Originally from Limerick but living in London, Kearney has been commissioned as part of Limerick City of Culture to make a new temporary public art work entitled, Tell Me Something, which will be launched on September 25.

The work takes the form of a large white luminescent torus (ring) positioned two thirds up the height of the 52-metre chimney stack at the old Cleeve’s Condensed Milk Factory on O’Callaghan Strand. It is intended to be visible from throughout the city centre, and is a continuation of his ongoing research into finding ways to connect the human experience with the built and social environment. His recent project, Spaces Building Make, at Middlesex University, London, looks at the dynamic between the everyday users and the architectural environment of one phase of the university, built in the 1970s.

Tell Me Something is rigged with rounded LED displays that allow the public to activate the work by means of their mobile phone or other internet device. Kearney selected the chimney stack so as to “create a dialogue between the skyline and the people of the city”. During the day it passively reflects its surroundings by means of two way mirrors, but at night the LED display is brought to life.

It is intended, he said, to urge the viewer to look on the progression of Limerick from economic and industrial stagnation to being a hub of technological research & development.

Born in Limerick in 1961, he studied Fine Art at the Limerick College of Art and Design, and then went on to Chelsea College of Art and Design where he obtained an MA in sculpture.

Meanwhile, eva, Limerick’s biennial conceptual arts exhibition concludes this Sunday, July 6, after almost three months on display in venues across the city.

The Cleeve’s plant, unused for the past three years, is among the exhibition spaces, and houses nine areas with 32 distinct, contemporary artworks.