Limerick’s Ormston House prepares to open the ‘Third Bridge’

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

A group of LSAD students work on the Third Bridge project in 1983. An exhibition dedicated to their work will open in Ormston House on Thursday
LIMERICK’S Ormston House will this Thursday welcome European Capital of Culture 2020 bid director Mike Fitzpatrick to open an archival project based exhibition.

LIMERICK’S Ormston House will this Thursday welcome European Capital of Culture 2020 bid director Mike Fitzpatrick to open an archival project based exhibition.

Third Bridge by Andrew Kearney and Deirdre Power will be launched at 7pm in the Patrick Street gallery, running until September 18.

The exhibition is based on the collective action taken in 1983 by then first year students at Limerick School of Art and Design to construct a ‘third bridge’ over the Shannon, built from 180 polystyrene bricks, strung together, bracelet-like, by two 185 meter-long nylon ropes, as historian John Logan has recalled in the exhibition notes.

“Towards the end of the 1982-3 academic year, first year students at LSAD were asked to examine the concepts of ‘place’ and ‘space’ through a land art project,” he explains.

“Against the background of growing public impatience with the drawn-out planning for a new bridge across the Shannon – sometimes referred to as ‘the third bridge’ – to ease congestion on the city’s existing bridges, the collective decided to make a modest proposal.

“Their Third Bridge would facilitate an analysis of several interrelated issues: the linking of diverse and contrasting locales; the crossing of borders; the presence (or absence) of the citizen in the planning process. Thus, in some respects, Third Bridge exemplified what Suzanna Lacy would later refer to as ‘new genre’ public art,” he adds.

Ormston invited Kearney and Power to revisit the events of June 1983 for an exhibition, which has three elements - a photographic record of the installation of the original piece; an archive of contemporary documents that illustrate the context and a site-specific installation at the Sylvester O’Halloran Footbridge, close to the site of the original Third Bridge.

Accompanying the exhibition, the artists have produced an eight page newspaper publication which includes archival documentation of the project in 1983, a text and timeline by Mr Logan, and related newspaper articles.

Also, on Culture Night - September 18 - to mark the exhibition’s the artists will host a walk to Custom House Marina where attendees will be ferried by boatman Pat Lysaght to the site of the 1983 Third Bridge to view a ‘re-imagined’ Sylvester O’Halloran Bridge. The event is free but advance booking for the boat trip is essential at deirdrepower@gmail.com.

See Ormston House for more.