Selected Installations. Potato Field Krakow. 1989. Gerry Gleason. Visual Tension Edinburgh. 1991. Gerry Gleason.
I first asked myself the question, what would Poland and Ireland have in common as part of a shared staple diet? Potatoes came to mind, perhaps even the old cellar I was using stored potatoes at one time. The next thing I decided was salt as a preservative,Krakow has one of the oldest salt mines in Europe,I would have all the salt I required.
Subsequently I visited the mine finding it an amazing experience. I purchased all the salt I needed plus a large salt crystal from one of the miners. In Ireland we have a long tradition
of passage graves, so the shape of the cellar suggested that format to me. I had read somewhere that Arshile Gorky said that in his mother's homeland feathers could be used to give the feeling of the passage of time.I decided to use a potato suspended above the installation. I inserted seven feathers into the potato one to be withdrawn each day to mark the life of the installation. I placed four candles on the brick rectangle surrounding the piece as compass points N.S.E.W. Private thoughts flooded my mind, I had recently visited Auschwitz, so that along with the Irish famine and Troubles, for me it all seemed to layer this modest installation.
The numbing numbers involved in these events suggested in a numerical rhythm
on the potatoes. The two joined figures a hope for the future, a unity through diversity, a strength not a weakness, a hope for the survival of humanity.