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APC and the  Glucksman probe gut-brain link


Repro free Provision 241116 Fiona Kearney, Director, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork and John Cryan, Professor & Chair, Dept. of Anatomy & Neuroscience, with a huge Nutella painting which is amonst some of the bizarre/ visually striking artworks in the new exhibition Gut Instinct at The Glucksman. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

APC’s John Cryan has teamed up with the Glucksman Gallery for the Gut Instinct exhibition which opened at the gallery on 24th November and runs until 19 March 2017.  Be sure to visit and watch out for the associated scientific programme which began with a public lecture from Prof Jane Foster, McMaster University on 30th November

Gut Instinct is a very novel collaboration, which challenges us to think differently about how we respond emotionally at a sensory and visceral level and reminds us that our state of gut will affect our state of mind. The exhibition explores feelings we have about food – guilt, pleasure, disgust – in startling ways.

In Marina Abramovic’s film The Onion, the artist eats a raw onion while her voice-over repeats a series of complaints, offering an unflinching portrayal of her discomfort and disgust.

Visitors will encounter a vast, painted field of densely-textured Nutella spread in Thomas Rentmeister’s Untitled, the sheer amount of inedible sweetness both enticing and revolting.

Domestic Godless’ performative events introduce participants to strange – and often repulsive-sounding – new recipes, while their installation, which includes custom-made toothpastes and suppositories, explores notions of disgust and digestion.

Food serves not simply as a means of sustenance, but also to encourage conversation, communication and conviviality, and in Fiona Hallinan’s installation, plate-like platforms are suspended by cords and pulleys to creative an interactive site that serves as both a sculptural arrangement and a space for public events.

The emotional attachments we have for particular brands and comfort foods is explored in Neil Shawcross’ paintings, from tins of soup to bottles of ketchup.

The connection between the state of gut and the state of mind is captured in artworks that blur the distinctions between mind and body. In Siobhan McGibbon’s sculptures, pristine white legs emerge from enlarged organs while her drawings – seen through medical-like viewing devices – depict microbes fusing with simplified human forms.

Curated by Chris Clarke, John Cryan and Fiona Kearney, Gut Instinct also features the artists Sonja Alhäuser, Elif Erkan, Fiona Hallinan and Abigail O’Brien.

UCC’s Writer-in-Residence Conal Creedon officially opened the  exhibition runs until March 19, 2017.

The Glucksman is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00-17:00 and Sundays from 14:00-17:00.

The exhibition is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and private philanthropy through Cork University Foundation.

Further reading:

Gut Instinct: Microbiota as a key regulator of brain development, ageing and neurodegeneration

Timothy G. Dinan & John F. Cryan (2016) The Journal of Physiology  – available free to download at: