Tell Me Something

Artist Name(s) Andrew Kearney
Artwork title Tell Me Something
Context/Background In July 2012 it was announced that Limerick would be Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014. The introduction of a National City of Culture Initiative in Ireland follows similar initiatives in other countries, and also follows the well established EU Capitals of Culture Programme which Ireland has held on two occasions. Tell Me Something was commissioned as a site-specific artwork for the disused Cleeve’s condensed milk factory in Limerick city centre - a former Golden Vale manufacturing plant owned by the Kerry Group. The factory lay empty for three years until Limerick’s biennial of contemporary art Eva International utilised the venue as an exhibition space between May and July of 2014.

Tell Me Something (2014) was an interactive, site-specific, mixed media installation. It took the form of a large, white, luminous ring positioned two thirds of the way up the iconic 52-metre red-brick chimney stack at the former Golden Vale Factory in Limerick city. This prominent location allowed the artwork to be visible throughout the city centre from September 2014 onwards. The artwork was rigged with a curved, 18 meter long, 360° wraparound, custom-made LED display, which during the day reflected the surrounding landscape using two way mirrors, but at night became luminous and active.  The public was invited to interact with the installation by composing a piece of text (up to 140 characters long) and inputting their statement into the custom-built software via readily available mobile technology and applications such as Twitter, Facebook, QR-codes, or online via the website Filters were in place to check content before it was broadcast across the LED display.

Tell Me Something was born out of artist Andrew Kearney’s desire to make a contemporary artwork that was both visible and accessible to the people of Limerick and to its wider community, a stimulating and visually engaging installation that captures the imagination of those who live, work, visit or travel through the city of Limerick. Tell Me Something was a proposition to introduce “a new narrative thread to the now disused factory, which once was at the heart of the community by creating a present moment that will positively shape the future common memory of the people of Limerick”.

Artistic concept

‘Tell Me Something’ was Andrew Kearney’s largest exterior work to date. The artist indicated that he had selected the chimney stack to “create a dialogue between the skyline and the people of the city. It is intended to urge the viewer to look on the progression of Limerick from economic and industrial stagnation to being a hub of technological research & development...The enticing name itself comes from my intention to create an alternative art piece that encourages metaphorically and literally the dialogue between the people and the city of Limerick, while asking us all to reassess our understanding of the city by introducing a new element into its otherwise familiar skyline.


Anne Sheridan ‘Space-age design for ‘iconic’ Limerick chimney’ Limerick Leader, 7 July 2014

Carissa Farrell ‘Tell Me Something’, Irish Arts Review, Spring 2014 edition


Andrew Kearney, BA MA Fine Arts, (b. 1961 Limerick, Ireland) is a mixed media installation artist living and working in London, whose work has been shown internationally. After finishing his MA in Chelsea College of Art Kearney won the Barclays Young Artist award and exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1992 and completing a fellowship in the PS1 studios of contemporary art in New York; Kearney has developed installation work for, among others, the Camden Arts Centre, Tate Britain, the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Ottawa Art Gallery and the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Canada. He also completed a three-year AHRC funded fellowship at Middlesex University in 2008 titled “Spaces Buildings Make”, culminating in an installation on the South Bank as part of the London Architecture Biennale and two books comprising theoretical and practical research.

Commission Type Government Department
Commissioner Name Limerick National City of Culture 2014
Commissioning process 'Tell Me Something' was funded via the 'Made in Limerick' funding strand of Limerick City of Culture 2014 programme. An Open Call received 328 applications, 109 of which were awarded funding, distributed via Limerick City Council.
Public Presentation dates September 21, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Partners Limerick City Council
Artform Visual Arts
Location Cleve's Factory
County Limerick
Town Limerick
Street Address O'Callaghan Strand
Content contributor(s) Web Editor with Sheila Deegan
Relationship to project Sheila Deegan, Arts and Culture Manager, Limerick National City of Culture 2014
Public engagement

As often occurs in Kearney’s practice, the ownership of the work is transferred to the participating audience, "whose interaction commands and develops the final experience of the work, transforming it into moment of communal venture. 'Tell Me Something' resonates with the Limerick of today by transforming one of its most charismatic industrial landmarks into a rich and diverse visual platform while crafting a new collective memory".

Associated professionals / Specialists involved
  • Erik Kearney and Iztech Ltd. – Electrical Engineers and Design
  • Jay Cole – Installation Technician
  • Aitor Albo – Assistant
  • Deirdre Power – Photographer
  • Gary Cotter – Structural Engineer
  • Sheila Deegan – Arts and Culture Manager, Limerick National City of Culture 2014



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