RGB Hyacinth, 2020-22

The RGB Hyacinth – with Void Offsites
Paper, glue, steel, wood, paint

Void Gallery is delighted to announce that artist Alan Phelan’s sculpture The RGB Hyacinth will launch on 18 June 2022 as part of Void Offsites.

Phelan’s project is a crowd-sourced sculpture made by individual participants in isolation during lockdown in 2020. A bucket of supplies was provided for collection at the gallery with instructions on how to make a ‘bucket flower’. Over 60 were made and, after many pandemic related delays, the sculpture is now to be finally assembled into a 4 metre high sculpture in Brooke Park, Derry.

This project celebrates isolated-collective activity, mirroring many public health slogans used during lockdowns of ‘staying apart but working together’. The sculpture marks the shared experience of this difficult period of time.

The RGB Hyacinth connects back to a 2020 exhibition at Void Gallery, echos are always more muted, during which Phelan explored RGB – red, green and blue colours. These three colours combine in various ways to make a colour spectrum – which is what happens on a LED television or phone screen. RGB colours are also the root of Phelan’s Joly screen photographs which were exhibited at Void in 2020.

The sculpture also draws on the rich symbolism of the hyacinth. There are several memory metaphors associated with the flower in Greek mythology, such as prophecy and the ability to control and manipulate memories. In the Victorian language of flowers the hyacinth represents jealousy, sport and play but the meaning changes according to different colours of the flower- blue means sincerity, purple signifies forgiveness and white – beauty. As a Spring flower (albeit now out of season) it imparts potency and rebirth yet in the Roman Catholic tradition, the flower represents prudence and constancy. And let’s not forget Hyacinth Bucket from ‘Keeping up Appearances’ TV sitcom, who inspired several social media stories when participants were being recruited to contribute to the sculpture.

The sculpture will be displayed at Brooke Park in Derry, from 18 June – 14 August, 2022. Stay tuned to our social media channels (@derryvoid) for more information.

An augmented reality version of the sculpture will be made available by QR code at Brooke Park and on the Void website. This can be activated to digitally plant the sculpture in any size or in multiples using a smartphone.

Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Government of Ireland.

Supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council and GB Engineering

In July, Void will host a celebration event –  including a performance – in response to the sculpture.

We would like to thank the following people for their generosity in building the sculpture:

Participants: Action Mental Health, Lenka Bance, Julie Benson, Maeve Butler, Sarah Browne,  Helen Carey, Angela Carlin, Norah Church, Dee Costello, Mary Cottrell, Jason Cottrell, Beth Cottrell, Orla Cottrell, Alex Cottrell, Teresa Coyle, Ava Cunningham, Mary Dalton, Michael Dawick, Mary Cremin, Claire Doherty, Mimi Doran, Tommy Finlay, Eadoin Finnegan, Ciara Finnegan, Annie Fletcher, Stephanie Gaumond, Maureen Grey, Louis Haugh, Sinead Hughes, Dominic and Sorcha Kearney, Ann-Marie Kirwan, Carie Logue, Briege Lowth, Isabel McDonald, Marta McDonald, Niamh McGuinne, Rory McLaughlin, Zoe McSparron, Marie Therese Newton, Deirdre O’ Callaghan, Marguerite O’ Molloy, Maeve Paris, Harriet Phelan, Stanislava Stoyanova, Rebecca Strain, and Colette Ramsey

Fabrication crew: Colin Graham, Stuart Porter and all at GB Engineering for the fabrication and installation of the sculpture. Chris McKeown at McCloskey Engineers, and architect Colin McCelland.

Parks: Colin Kennedy, Emma Barron and Ciaran McGowan from Derry City and Strabane District Council

Void Production team: Maeve Butler, Stephanie Gaumond, Tansy Cowley and Zoe McSparron

Video Production: Louis Haugh and Oonagh Young Gallery

AR Design: Mark Cullen