As we know, the concept of Here Lies grows out of Kieran’s recognition of the aesthetic potential of leftover furnace waste, liberated from the crematorium he worked in as a teenager in the late 1970s. As a stand-in for something universal, these materials have inspired the most original and distinctive paintings of a generation: a series whose very title heralds our present, and whose content is overwhelmingly focused on surviving beyond it.
Kieran is hugely sensitive to the general question of memorialisation, and to the perfectly natural desire for remembrance and celebration of those who have passed. He is also keenly aware that his is not an everyday request, and accordingly has been on the lookout for a way of properly acknowledging peoples’ contribution to his work.
Of course, every contributor’s name will be permanently written into the relevant project documentation - and, if practicable, into the physical being of the work itself. But as a very personal mark of his gratitude to contributors, Kieran wants to create a small individual memento, made specifically out of a proportion of the individual’s remains before the rest of them are added into the collective.
Kieran’s grateful acknowledgment will take the form of a unique, artist-finished print, based on the extraordinary new Here Lies canvas ‘Spirit In The Mass’. The print itself shows an angled close-up of the painting’s remarkable surface, and will be mounted on canvas stretched over a wooden frame. Kieran’s finishing will incorporate some of the contributor’s ashes, applied and sealed by the artist in a textured layer which echoes his signature painting technique.
No two prints will be exactly alike, and the basic print design will be strictly limited to the purpose of recognising individual contributors: in other words, it will never appear in any other form, printed or otherwise. A signed letter on the print’s reverse will record Kieran’s personal thanks for the contributor’s generosity and courage, and confirm the print’s very special provenance.
In the case of persons who are still living and who wish to contribute to Here Lies once they have passed, the offer is the same. Obviously Kieran will not be able to produce a fully finished print at this stage, and so he proposes that the contributor be presented with their print in a part-finished state, on the understanding it will be returned along with their ashes for proper completion at a later date. The whole will be governed by a contract note which will be published in due course.