The first public exhibition from an important collection of contemporary British and Irish art, owned by Belfast collector Dr Ian Rowan, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 13 February 2002. The Rowan Collection: Contemporary British and Irish Art comprises 30 challenging and dynamic works by leading exponents of the genre, many being seen in Ireland for the first time. They include Darren Almond, Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport, Felim Egan, Tracey Emin, David Feeley, Barry Flanagan, Mark Francis, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Tom Hunter, Sarah Lucas, Elizabeth Magill, Martin Maloney, Fionnuala Ní Chiosáin, Chris Ofili, Richard Patterson, Simon Patterson, Marc Quinn, Fiona Rae, Sean Scully, Paul Seawright, Sean Shanahan and Sam Taylor-Wood.
The exhibition, in the New Galleries, includes paintings, photographs, sculpture, installations and graphic works. The subject matter is equally diverse embracing abstraction, figure composition, portraiture, still life, landscape and text. Key works include Sarah Lucas’s Divine, 1991, a photographic self-portrait which interrogates the status and sexuality of the artist, and a recent neon work, You forgot to kiss my Soul, 2001, by Tracey Emin, famous for her My Bed installation for the Turner Prize exhibition in 1999. Recent works include The Outlaw, 2001, by Tom Hunter, whose photographic compositions re-examine famous paintings from art history while exploring notions of contemporary disenfranchisement and difference.
Dr Rowan began by collecting early Irish modern art, only to find that over time a new interest in cutting edge contemporary practice beckoned. Excited by the emergence of a generation of young British artists (widely referred to as yBas), he began to collect what are undoubtedly some of the canonical names of 1990s and early 2000s ‘Britart’. Many of the artists represented in the collection are trail-blazers of yBa, having participated in exhibitions such as Freeze, The British Art Show, Sensation and the Turner Prize, which are regarded as defining moments in the rise of the phenomenon. His collection, something of a rarity in Irish art circles, was built up primarily on the basis of what appealed to him personally and what he could live with in a domestic environment. Indeed, one of the most engaging aspects of the exhibition is the opportunity it affords visitors to experience what has been until now a private dialogue between the collector and his collection.
Commenting on the exhibition, the curator of the show and Head of Exhibitions, at IMMA, Brenda McParland, said “Dr Rowan is a passionate and avid collector. What makes his collection unique is that he maintains an interest in what he considers to be the best of contemporary Irish art alongside British art, and so his collection provides an invaluable opportunity to observe contemporary British Art beyond the narrow confines of the yBa frame.”
A catalogue, with an essay by curator and writer Virginia Button, accompanies the exhibition (price €10.00).
The Rowan Collection: Contemporary British and Irish Art continues until 3 June 2002. Admission is free. Opening hours: Tue - Sat 10.00am - 5.30pm Sun, Bank Holidays 12 noon - 5.30pm Closed Mondays, 29 March
For further information and colour and black and white images please contact Monica Cullinane or Juliette Gash at Tel : +353 1 612 9900, Fax : +353 1 612 9999 email firstname.lastname@example.org 1 February 2002