Art and medicine fuse in new exhibition on patient experience 

29/01/2016 00:00 
Being a patient in a modern hospital can, at times, be disorienting, and students at UCL Slade School of Fine Art have tried to capture this experience in a series of photographs, paintings, and sculptures in a new exhibition, which opened last week.

The title of the exhibition, Indigo Vastness, is taken from a passage in The Rings of Saturn by German writer and academic, WG Sebald, where he tries to explain his feelings in the aftermath of surgery.

Under the influence of painkillers, he describes feeling like a balloonist floating above mountainous clouds. “At times the billowing masses would part and I gazed out at the indigo vastness and down into the depths where I supposed the earth to be, a black and impenetrable maze,” he wrote.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students were asked to interpret this broad theme and the result is this latest collaboration between UCLH and UCL.

“When the new hospital opened around 10 years ago, The Slade provided a lot of the artwork for  the new building, “ explains Guy Noble, art curator at UCLH. “There has always been good collaboration between the hospital and the university, and this exhibition just strengthens that connection,” he adds.

“The work is provocative and likely to inspire debate,” he says. “And there’s something very powerful about having that opportunity while you are waiting for your test results in the hospital.”

The exhibition runs until 2 March 2016 at the Street Gallery, University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, NW1 2BU.

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