Art as a Cure at a London Hospital Guy’s and St Thomas’ !

September 23, 2015

Can art cure cancer? Well, we can’t put that much fate in the power of art. But the studies have shown that it certainly can enhance the healing environment and help patients recover faster. With that idea in mind, a new project was initiated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in Southwark, London, as part of their new cancer center facility. The cancer center designed by the internationally acclaimed architects will also become a home of several site-specific commissions by artists chosen by the patients and staff members, including the Turner prize nominee Angela Bulloch.

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Gitta Gschwendtner - Seeds of Change: Design for a permanent floating ballast seed garden in Bristol. Courtesy of the artist

Art Program at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital

New cancer center at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital is designed by architectural firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and it will feature several facilities for different treatment areas. The building design is one of three parts in their arts program, others being the curated temporary and permanent exhibitions, as well as the chronicle work which will bring together arts and research. This great initiative is funded only through charity and it is completely dedicated to the needs of the patients who themselves were engaged in every step of the plan development process.

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Mariele Neudecker - Heaven, Sky, 2008. Photo via

Artists Help Fight Cancer

As mentioned in the introduction, cancer survivors previously treated at the hospital along with the staff members were responsible for the choice of the artists whose work will became part of the permanent exhibit once the cancer center is opened in 2016. Respecting the wish of the patients, hospital administrators chose the work of several local and international artists, most notably Angela Bulloch, German designer Gitta Gschwendtner, visual artist Mariele Neudecker and London-based sculptor Daniel Silver. These artists will create site-specific works exploring the healing potential of light, sound and color use. Angela Bulloch will create several artworks reminiscent of her previous Pacific Rim Around & Sideways Up light boxes installed at Hanover. Gitta Gschwendtner, known for her ‘tailor made’ designs will focus on the practical design of specific villages. Mariele Neudecker will provide the work for the outdoor areas, as well as two works for the hospital lifts while Daniel Silver’s boat sculpture will stand as a welcoming piece for the visitors.

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Daniel Silver - Parcours, 2015, Antiken Museum Basel. Courtesy of the artist

Lifting the Spirit of Cancer Patients at a London Hospital

Patients, hospital employees, and artists are very much excited about the new cancer treatment facilities. A grant of £1.7 million was provided through Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity fund, solely for the purpose of establishing innovative visual and performing arts program in the new cancer center. Although it can’t help as a definite cure, all participants in the project strongly believe that it can permanently enhance the hospital environment, help lift the spirits of staff members and improve well-being of the patients who are spending months and even years in the hospital atmosphere.

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Featured images:

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners - Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital: Plan for the Cancer Treatment Centre. Photo via

Angela Bulloch - Pacific Rim Around & Sideways Up, Hanover, Germany. Photo by ChristianSchd via wikipedia