Music by Angela Molloy


This piece ‘ Suspension’ is based on being suspended in water. The viewer is forced to come to terms with it by questioning whether or not I will come up for air. This performance was projected onto the pillow of a hospital bed and installed into the middle of a room. It conjures up the uncertainty one has when someone has had an accident or has been admitted to hospital. It is based on the element of survival and the hope that one will pull through.

I was intrigued by Thomas Demand’s work where he made a replica of where someone was murdered. It made me think how the reconstruction of a room or object could reveal a truth.

I feel the hospital bed is loaded with meaning. It is the culmination of my work and the themes I have used throughout. The suffering one has to endure in a hospital bed and the uncertainty of one’s destiny.

I see the hospital bed as a significant object. I decided to incorporate the bed when I saw the work of Marcel Duchamp. He signed his name on a urinal. He provoked the debate about an artist’s right to designate something manufactured as a piece of artwork. I wanted to give the hospital bed its place and leave my mark on it.

I was influenced by Kathleen Bitetti’s work ‘Weary Heads’ where she used a series of ten life size beds.

‘These are beautiful objects but they are also very dangerous. These works transform an object that usually provides comfort, into one that has nightmare qualities.’ Kathleen Bitetti

The hospital bed and the projection of me continually under water on the pillow reveal a truth. Will I come up for air of will I drown? There are undertones of whether or not I will survive. I researched the Shakespearian tragedy ‘Hamlet’ where the queen speaks of Ophelia’s death.

As one incapable of her own distress,

Or like a creature native and indu’d

Unto that element; but long it could not be

Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,

Pull’d the poor wretch from their melodious lay

To muddy death.


There are ambiguous meanings referring to Ophelia’s death. The references to water are significant. I looked at a hologram of Kate Moss presented at fashion week where her hair and material floated like it was under water.

I looked at an image of the statue of Saint Teresa where the material flowing around her face and body was reminiscent of the way my hair and clothing floated under the water. Saint Teresa describes her pain as a mingled pain of body and soul.

There is an illusion of time, which highlights the suspense and unknown outcome. It is like being suspended in time. It is the crucial time of recovery and a time of emergency.

It is a time to cope and a time to heal. Is it a beginning or an end? Is it just in time or too late? It is a time when the body goes into hibernation and recuperates or shuts down.

The image of my head on a made bed has a ghostly appearance. It suggests matters of the brain, thoughts, emotions and deals with the mind. I had experimented with the idea of projecting my body onto the bed but I felt my head had a lot more impact. The made up bed is clean and ready for the next person but a residue still remains. I considered the importance of hospital sheets and the residue of one’s experience. I looked at Yves Klein’s work and the significance of the body’s imprint.

My work deals with issues such as the healing process, suffering, pain, and the persistence of inhumanity, endurance of the human body and survival.

My piece ‘Suspension’ brings together the concepts behind my work. It expresses a prolonged agony and not knowing the outcome of one’s life. It is open to interpretation but conveys a quiet desperation that is often experienced in life.

Copyright 2010 Angela Molloy. Northern Ireland Multi-media and performance artist based in Belfast.

Ophelia by John Everett Millais 1851-1852