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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 15:01 GMT
Art for heart's sake
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul's work was featured at the gallery in 2001
A new exhibition at Bristol's Arnolfini gallery will feature an artist creating a new work - using her blood as paint.

The work, entitled Blood Wall Drawing I, will be created by Kira O'Reilly in February, as part of the "Marked Season".

A spokeswoman said the exhibition would explore ways in which artists had worked with their bodies.

Ms O'Reilly will prepare for the work by having a small quantity of her blood - less than would be taken from a blood donor - drawn under strict medical supervision.

After the artist has gone, traces of her and her art are left behind

Catriona Henderson
The blood will then be taken to the gallery in a sealed container for the drawing to be made, a spokeswoman for the modern art gallery said.

Over a period of two days, the Bristol-based artist will use her blood to paint lines into a grid of small squares created on two walls of the gallery with tape.

On the following two days she will remove the grid and cover over the marks with white paint.

'Personal meanings'

Catriona Henderson, marketing manager at the riverside gallery, described the work as "intimate and thoughtful" and said the blood had a "range of personal and symbolic meanings".

She dismissed the idea that it could be construed as "gory", but admitted that under-16s would not be admitted to the gallery to view the work, unless accompanied by an adult.

Blood Wall Drawing I is intended as an "intimate and thoughtful gesture, exploring the fragility and transience of the human body," she said.

"After the artist has gone, traces of her and her art are left behind, invisible but embedded in the walls of the gallery.

"Arnolfini has an international reputation for its programmes of new, unfamiliar, challenging and experimental art.

Gallery warning

"Some people may react to the idea of blood being used in the gallery, but the work will not be gory to look at or dangerous for visitors."

Ms Henderson said all visitors to the gallery would be warned about the work before entering, to allow them to make up their own minds about whether they wanted to see it.

She said Ms O'Reilly was unavailable to comment as she was out of the country.

The Marked season runs until April.

The Arnolfini, which featured art works by former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney last year, will present Blood Wall Drawing I from February 14 to 17.

Click here to go to BBC Bristol Online
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