‘70 years on…’ Central Concourse Screen by Christopher Tipping MA RCA
The Central Concourse Screen ‘70 years on…’ was created to celebrate the delivery of the Jubilee Building and the 70th Anniversary of Musgrove Park Hospital. The project received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The work is presented as a digitally printed tensile fabric screen made of 26 individually printed panels. It is supported by a bespoke lightweight aluminium and stainless steel double-sided ladder frame 21m x 1.8m, which is itself hung from 3 steel supporting columns of the Central Concourse building. Specialist contractors involved in the project were Architen Landrell, VGL and Metafabs.
Text was employed in the design as both an aid to the visual narrative and to emphasise the importance of the hospital’s archive collection in this 70th Anniversary year. It also recalls individual and collective voices from the last 70 years gathered from staff and patients past and present, recalling their experiences of working here at Musgrove Park Hospital as part of the ‘Sensing our Past’ project.
Words have been used to draw with, or to conjure up the dynamic energy of the hospital. It is presented in a variety of ways, for example, following the line of the Galmington Stream, which runs along the boundary of the Hospital, or as a gestural expression, such as the whirlwind vortex drawing, or a simple circle of fine white text. They are an eclectic and often mis-matched set of words, evocative of half remembered memories, anecdotes and stories, (as opposed to reproducing hard facts and figures within a fixed timeline). There are perhaps more ‘distant’ voices from early in the life of the hospital, particularly from it’s wartime experience.
Some elements within the artwork are obviously and easily recognisable, such as the iconic Eisenhower Tree and Galmington Stream, whilst others are abstract and elusive. A great number of the references are archival in origin, such as the colours, which were influenced by boxes of medical artifacts, some in the original packaging. Bunches of flowers appear from between the seam joints, which evoke the Lily of the Valley presented to HM The Queen Mother or flowers given by visitors, which were held in vases attached to columns in the Nightingale wards. The photographic archive, which contains hundreds of images of staff at work and celebrating events such as Christmas and retirements, as well as visits by Royalty, or the American World Heavyweight Boxer, Joe Louis and the entertainer Bob Hope, who both visited the Hospital during World War II is also referenced.
For further information on the different elements within the Screen click here.
Photograph by Corbin O’Grady Studio