|Jeremy Schrecker's Life
Spring and Bedrock at Hammersmith Hospital.
A patient's poem
|Hammersmith Hospital began as a Poor Law
Institute. Each day the male inmates broke
up rocks for roadmaking as a contribution
for their night's accommodation. For almost
90 years the massive lump of granite left
behind in the Labour Yard has been carefully
preserved by the hospital.
|Jeremy Schrecker was born 1962 and graduated
from the Royal College of Art in 1988. In
1989 the Hammersmith Hospital Arts Committee
commissioned him to set this stone in a
small area overlooked by the corridor to
the new Phase I of the rebuilt Hammersmith.
|The sculptor supplied the text for the
legend at the window looking onto the sculpture:
|"This was the piece
which they found unbreakable. The stone
now lies in peace here, at the centre of
the hospital site,
midway between the old and new buildings."
|Jeremy Schrecker created and constructed
the setting, the water symbolizing the flow
of healing powers from the heart of the
|The Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi wrote:
|"A stone is that from
which we come, Is that to which we go back,
It is the earth itself."
|Soon after the sculpture had been installed
Alex, a patient about to have a major heart
operation, saw the sculpture and wrote two
poems. These are reproduced here, with his
permission and that of the sculptor, because
there are so few published comments by patients
on works of art which have been commissioned,
donated, borrowed or bought by hospitals
to try and make them beautiful for patients,
staff and visitors.
I am on my way to meet my Maker maybe.
Perhaps frightened and apprehensive.
But for all that - amazed to find myself
still alive. Walking through the corridors
of the hospital.
And then a window onto a different world.
What is it?
What is going on here?
Rock? Mirror? Water? Stone?
And the man? Prometheus?
Amputated from each other by the pane
of glass. A world of silence.
Then Helen with utter simplicity opens
the leaves of the glass just by pushing
Fresh air. The man who seems to be deep
down wrestling with some problem looks
We discuss the various ways we saw the
world over coffee.
Over a period of seven days a new world
began to dawn. I entered the twilight
worlds between life and death. Before
entering and after leaving I held the
Rock in my mind. Maybe you could say the
Rock held my mind.
Seven days later I looked at the world
It had come together.
The Rock was now two. Warm and cold.
My mind saw a meteorite so dense and heavy
it seemed. Yet it floated above the moving
And yes healing. For me a part of my new
being in the world. Art was muscling-up
and making-out in the new world. Even
Prometheus was looking happier.
He didn't look like a statue any more.
He'd had a shower!
Looked quite different without the grey
white dust over him.
And a new question occupied my mind.
If he is Prometheus am I Hercules?
Anyway Mon Ami I think of you as one of
my first friends in this new world.
Long live Jeremy. Long live Art.
And I like your Brother Marius the Magic
Flute Man. Looks like a man who might
be into Chess and Snooker.
Surely it helps for you to know that your
well have helped me through pain and despair?
And might well help many more ... I reckon
... Be well.
I read the letter and found myself weeping.
Thank you for helping too.
And there seems to be so much more.
The work must stand for all time. It is
a seminal work.
Have been dreaming of your white walls.
On the right where the observer stands
a thin thread snaking towards the opposite
wall ending in a tunnel-like semi-circle.
It is probably just the graffiti-artist
But seriously I see your space as a happening.
The birds will come and drink and bathe.
Seeds will fall and green will grow into
My friends tell me I am a Jay-Bird when
it comes to colour ... still not sure if
it is a criticism or a compliment.
Dust will thicken and become moss will spring
flowers to crown the rocks.
Maybe my job should be to be The Mirror
Man? Keep it highly polished at all times!
That way I could keep an eye on things.
Make sure the window is always clear.
The thing about resolving a situation is
the feeling of ever being on the edge ...
but not quite.
I often find myself emerging from the work
to find myself a stranger to what some would
call the mundane world.
Traffic arguing and snarling crawling
and screeching frustration.
And goodness gracious the moon is full!
So many people.
I think you Stone Men must be world changers.
Hammer and Chisel.
Faith can move mountains but don't forget
your Hammer and Chisel.
What about drumming?
Never met the sculptor who wasn't into drumming.
Maybe when you come next we can have a drumming
rap. Sculpting sounds.
For myself I am torn between the ear and
the eye. Enjoy sound making as much as shaping
Anyway ... I think there is so much more.
||(Accepted 15 October 1991)