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WORK OF THE WEEK | 06 May 2024  

CAG.3112 Sara Baume, so sick and tired…, 2020, neon tubing, 400 x 50 cm. Purchased, National Sculpture Factory, 2021. © the artist. 


Sara Baume’s neon text installation, so sick and tired… (2020), acts as a reminder of the strange times we have lived through in recent years. Its full text – ‘so sick and tired of parsimony, we long for debauchery’ – also expresses a restlessness for living life familiar to many of us. 

In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baume was commissioned to create an artwork by the National Sculpture Factory (NSF) that responded to the government-mandated Lockdown. The resulting work was displayed on NSF’s exterior as part of Cork Midsummer Festival’s reimagined, socially-distanced offering, Midsummer Moments.  

Sara Baume, installation view at National Sculpture Factory, 2020. Photo_Jed Niezgoda

Sara Baume, installation view at National Sculpture Factory, 2020. Photo_Jed Niezgoda

For many in Cork city, it was possibly one of the few accessible visual art installations during that period, which spoke of a time before or, hopefully, a time to come. 

Launched at sunset on the summer solstice, with people standing at least two metres apart, the work slowly became illuminated. As Baume reflects: ‘an amber colour was chosen because it represents “uncertainty,” a feeling that continues to resonate at this moment in time.’ 

Sara Baume (b.1984) is a visual artist and writer. Based in West Cork, she has always felt an insistence to work with her hands, as described in her non-fiction book, handiwork (2020). In 2015, she won the coveted Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Published by Tramp Press and Heinemann, her books A Line Made by Walking (2017) and Seven Steeples (2022) were both shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, with the latter also shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and An Post Irish Book Awards.  

Sara Baume’s so sick and tired… (2020) is featured in A MATTER OF TIME until 3 June. 

The Arts House: Conor Tallon chats with curator Michael Waldron about a work from the Collection every Sunday morning on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork.  

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