Phelim Hoey on how his MS diagnosis became a driving
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Phelim Hoey on how his MS diagnosis became a driving force of his practice

Swimming in symbolism, Hoey’s work speaks to the transience of human life, the passages of time, and the merciless nature of probability

In a spartan room of chilly concrete, a sequence of human heads – rendered in gray porcelain – are set throughout the ground. Each is orbited by a type of pendulum, their weighted bobs swinging forwards and backwards, whistling previous the sculptures’ fragile surfaces. Quickly sufficient they strike their chosen targets, some sooner than others. After they do, the effigies crumble; delicate items litter the bottom, from a chin to a collapsed forehead, or the now-dislocated contours of a human cheek.

This unsettling set up, preserved within the form of a tense video work, was an early experiment by Dutch-Irish visible artist Phelim Hoey, and a constituent half of his ongoing mission, La Machine. Swimming in symbolism, it speaks on to the transience of human life, to twin frailties of thoughts and physique, to the passages of time, and to the merciless nature of probability. In these methods, it’s an illuminating window into the questions that outline a lot of Hoey’s practice – questions that emerge largely from the artist’s personal private circumstances. 

Simply a few weeks into the primary year of his pictures course at Utrecht Faculty of the Arts within the Netherlands, Hoey started to expertise issues with his imaginative and prescient. “I wasn’t apprehensive in any respect,” he recollects, “at the moment I felt fairly immortal”. Regardless of the assurances of a physician – that it was doubtless an an infection stemming from an earlier chilly – additional signs adopted, affecting Hoey’s steadiness and coordination. Some six months later, on 14 March 2011, after a succession of escalating consultations with neurologists, he was identified with a number of sclerosis (MS) – a illness of the mind and spinal wire that disrupts the nervous symptom’s means to transmit alerts. 

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