Struggling with definitions
Tucked away behind a door in the corridor of a busy hospital earlier today I came across this heart.
It’s a wooden sculpture that Waterford man Anthony Thomas Power donated to his local hospital and I caught a glimpse of it as I was passing by.
So I stopped. I looked at it and I read the inscription on the wooden frame beneath it:
“From time to time our hearts haven been broken, cracked, twisted and distorted, but yet that beautiful creation beats on till the last breath of all that we are. What we choose to do with this beat is what defines our faith and hope.”
I’m not an art critic by any stretch of the imagination, but I really like this piece.
It may be too simple for some people’s artistic sensibilities, but not mine. It’s impressive visually and it also seems to me to be an appropriate piece of public art for a hospital.
I can see, for example, why this belongs in a hospital more clearly than why there’s a giant hedgehog on the side of the motorway outside Gorey.
Though again, visually, I think that’s quite a good piece – I appreciate the form, but not the content. More on that debate – from a photographer’s point of view – and some great images here.
Art, like people’s opinions of it, varies wildly though. That’s if we can even agree what is and isn’t art in the first place… it’s an endless black hole of debate that I don’t intend diving into.
We’ve always been told that art is largely subjective though and so it is. One thing we agree on then!
For everyone like me who peers in around the door in Waterford Regional Hospital you can be sure that hundreds more pass right by. If I’d been in a less introspective mood maybe I would have too.
Frankly, I had a lot on my mind today and wasn’t planning on making any detours, however brief.
In fact, I had postponed my planned trip to do a tour of all the great art and photography exhibitions in Wexford at the moment as part of the Opera Festival, so I really didn’t expect to end up writing a post like this tonight.
But I was glad I unexpectedly came across this piece and afterwards I couldn’t help thinking that Mr Power would have been happy to know I had stopped to look at, and listen to, his heart.
To experience it. To think about it. To enjoy it.
After all, isn’t that really the point of art?
“I realise my heart beats the same as yours, but it’s what I choose to do with this beat is what defines me,” Mr Power was telling me.
I heard him loud and clear. The struggle to define ourselves is far more difficult – and far more important – than defining art though.
What are you doing with your beat?