Moments with artist Luke Jerram
This blog post features Luke Jerram’s artwork, the moments people experience and how his work relates to medical science. For a quick overview of Luke’s work you can watch this 2 minute showreel:
In Memoriam is a touring artwork, originally commissioned by UHBW and Culture Weston, in tribute to all the NHS health and care workers who have been working to save lives during the crisis. This outdoor installation of 120 flags, made from NHS bedsheets, is a temporary memorial for the public to visit and contemplate the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Memoriam by Luke Jerram was installed on Weston Beach as the centrepiece of the Weston Arts & Health Week in September 2021, after which the artwork was immediately displayed on Bristol's College Green.
Credit: Sally Low
Who is Luke Jerram?
Have you played a piano in the street? Slid down Park Street? Heard an orchestra drifting from balloons overhead or heard gentle lullabies being played from brightly lit bicycles? Or have you been enchanted by Luke’s Museum of the Moon installation that has captured the public’s imagination in 150 locations and in 30 different countries?
Sometimes described as ‘probably the most famous artist you have never heard of’ Bristol based artist Luke Jerram is known globally for his multi-faceted arts practice and large scale public art work.
Much of Luke’s work requires interaction, and it playfully challenges what we take for granted about our perception, particularly of science. Many artworks consider the soundscape as well as the visual, and Luke often collaborates with musicians and sound artists.
Luke’s Glass Microbiology series reveals the intricate shapes and textures of bacteria and viruses, such as the HIV and coronavirus, in order that we may better contemplate the global impact of disease.
Luke’s ‘Apollo’ artwork, for the Bristol music venue St Georges, depicts sound waves from Philip Glass’s music composition Etude No2 as a column of glass discs. This 3.62m sculpture is suspended in the new foyer.
The Impossible Garden
In 2018, Luke collaborated with Bristol Eye Hospital, Bristol Vision Institute and Bristol University Botanic Garden to exhibit twelve experimental sculptural artworks, inspired by his own colour blindness and other optical phenomena. The exhibition encouraged a greater public understanding about the many processes involved in “seeing”, improving an awareness about the processes and limitations of vision. This short clip explains more about this fascinating project:
Made specifically for young children, Lullaby centres around the very special but often fragile time of a children’s bedtime. Originally described as a gift to the city of Bristol, Lullaby is a surround sound illuminated artwork, created by its own citizens and delivered at dusk to family’s doors. Lullaby has travelled across the world. It has been requested by many places during the pandemic, as like much of Luke’s work, it can be accessed outdoors and at a distance. At the end of November 2021, Lullaby was brought to the streets of Weston-super-Mare, presented by Theatre Orchard.
Here’s a description of Luke Jerram’s magical piece:
“Music can be heard drifting down the streets and a shoal of twinkling lights is seen in the distance, getting closer. Only as the mass of lights pass their house do they realise that the music is coming from speakers attached to 40 decorated bikes producing the most ambient light and serene music”
What can I see now? Palm Temple (2020)
‘Palm Temple’ is on display near Bristol University’s Chemistry building, just five minutes walk from St Michael’s hospital.
You can step inside this artwork for contemplation. It is in the form of a pavillion made from cedar wood. The mirrored floor and dichroic panelled windows reference the stained glass of Brunelleschi’s great dome of Florence Cathedral.
Connecting the sky and clouds with the ground, Palm Temple changes minute by minute with the shifting weather patterns and time of day. Inside, the effect is spectacular. Find it on the map below.