When I started my research in Sept ’03, some of the wards were still occupied by patients and staff. As ward by ward evacuated I was left with the husk of the building, remanants of furniture and the most poignant and personal marks left by the patients themselves. The scarring from cigarette burns, placed in some places wittingly and others deliberately, are a robust image in themselves. Similarily I found painstaking paint picking on pillars and skirting boards, words and messages, scratches, drawings and marks. These are the voices that say I am here, I was here, this is me. Through my photographs I wish to honour that tenacious mark of survival in these images.
As the institution empties, large rooms and corridors are laid bare to the original structure. It is people who have shaped its unique life and destiny. The complexities of changing circumstances and regimes witnessed by these walls mirror society’s own dreams, beliefs and ambiguities.
Installation, The Linen Hall Gallery, Castlebar, Co. Mayo >>
Installation, John David Mooney Foundation, Chicago >>