Limerick, Ireland
John Gerrard & Peter Carroll, Pig Slat Benches, 2010, installation, galvanised mild-steel, floor slats, farrowing cage handles

John Gerrard & Peter Carroll

b. 1968, Ireland / b. 1971, Ireland

Architect Peter Carroll and artist John Gerrard were invited by the curator to visit the e v+ a exhibition space in February 2010. In response to this visit and following extensive discussions, a group of benches was conceptualised and executed as a collaborative work between artist and architect. These works were specifically designed for the space.

The works – eight benches – echo the eight sheds represented in Gerrard’s Grow Finish Unit (near Elkhart, Kansas) 2008, which is also installed on the third-floor space of a redundant office block. The polished cement floor of the space is treated as a plain or expanse on which both works rest. From the windows, views are offered to an area of Limerick city formerly known as ‘Pigtown’, which once accommodated many slaughterhouses and pig-processing factories.

The benches are made from two types of ready-made drained slatted floor sections used in pig-production farms – one with an undulating anti-slip surface for the sow, and the other with a heated floor-pan insert to provide comfort for piglets. The public is invited to sit on these benches, and, in so doing, experiences a little of what it feels like to rest upon them.

In the distance the virtual work can also be seen. Each bench surface is raised from the ground to reveal an undercarriage of heating-pipe circuits and structural tension supports. Handles made for farrowing cages have been adapted to provide support as bench legs.

(Text: e v+ a – matters catalogue, 2010)


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