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Public art in the ECC

Public art at the ECC: A story of Faith

Artwork makes a big difference to the hospital interior, feeding into Gateshead’s longstanding tradition and commitment to public art, with the iconic Angel of the North often recognised as one of the most famous landmarks in the world.

The Emergency care centre features a new commission from award winning artist Joseph Hillier called Faith.

The installation is a large stainless steel figure modelled at over twice life size (standing straight the figure would measure 3.6m).

Joseph Hillier has created the stunning piece which is made from hundreds of pieces of steel intricately fabricated together and weighing in at more than 530kg.

“Entering a hospital for many people can be an anxious experience. I have often heard it said that people don’t like hospital and the reasons seem obvious: the association with health problems and the fear of treatment.  However we do have a faith in medicine, which outweighs this reticence, allowing us to make the journey," he explains.

“Therefore we can applaud this great opportunity to transform this most stunning of blank canvases, the new atrium space at the entrance to the QE in Gateshead. My intention was to use my ability as a sculptor coupled with an innovative use of contemporary technology to make a figurative work, which transforms any sense of trepidation at our approach to a hospital into wonder and excitement.

“I want the work to present an image of a human body which overcomes the laws of physics, to become weightless, as in a dream. The piece creates an image of humanity, surpassing the bounds of possibility to create a sense of faith in the hospital, as a place where the human body is understood and can be successfully treated.

“It is no mistake these cut layers, look like the layers in a CT scan.  I have a long standing interest in this and other forms of medical imaging. After I modelled the piece in three dimensions the parts were cut from 4mm stainless steel sheet locally, with an experienced laser cutter who I have worked with extensively on numerous commissions. The work was then assembled like a complex three dimensional jigsaw and the parts welded together.

“The technique for this piece is an innovation I have been working on for the last two years and is an exciting new direction in my work, and I hope an apt and poignant installation for the QE Hospital in Gateshead.”

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