A major exhibition of the work of the celebrated Irish artist Gerard Byrne opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 27 July 2011. THROUGH THE EYES comprises of a series of five projects dating from 2003 to 2010, surveying almost a decade in which his work has become widely recognised internationally. Byrne’s multi-layered approach to his work creates an exhibition that is both complex in its subject matter and recognisable in its imaginary reconstructions of the ongoing debates between the present, soon to be past, and the projected future. Influenced by literature and theatre, Byrne's work consistently references a range of sources, from popular magazines of the recent past to iconic Modernist playwrights such as Brecht, Beckett, and Sartre.
Byrne’s work encompasses film, video, photography and installation. Often taking texts as his starting point, it often takes the form of reconstructions, where actors use texts as formal scripts. The works are culturally coded and can be viewed as a critique of bourgeois culture from the period since the 1960s. Byrne places the works within contemporary settings, allowing for a distance between both recent historical moments and the present.
The works included in the exhibition are New Sexual Lifestyles, 2003, part of the IMMA Collection, and based on a conversation published in the September 1973 issue of Playboy magazine; Subject, 2009, commissioned by the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds as part of the exhibition The New Monumentality, and shot on the campus of Leeds University; A thing is a hole in a thing it is not, 2010, a direct response to art critic Michael Fried’s seminal text Art and Objecthood,1967; 1984 and beyond, 2007 and his ongoing project since 2001 Case Study: Loch Ness.
Born in Dublin in 1969, Byrne graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale and the Lyon Biennale, in 2007 and at the Sydney Biennale, the Gwangju Biennale and the Turin Triennial, in 2008 and his work is currently on show in the Venice Biennale, 2011. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Lismore Castle, Co Waterford, Glasgow International Festival of Art, Lisson Gallery, London and Green On Red Gallery, Dublin. Group exhibitions include Little Theatre of Gestures, Malmo Konsthall, Sweden, Slow Movement at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland and Sense and Sentiment at the Augarten Contemporary, Vienna, Austria.
Talk On Tuesday 26 July at 5.00pm, in The Chapel at IMMA, Dr Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, critic, curator and lecturer at University College Dublin steers a conversation with the artist on selected works in the exhibition. Admission is free but booking is essential on www.imma.ie/talksandlectures
A publication, edited by curator and writer Pablo Lafuente, with contributions by critics Maeve Connolly, Bettina Funcke, Sven Lütticken, Tom McDonough, Jeremy Millar, Maria Muhle, Volker Pantenburg and Ian White, accompanies the exhibition.
A limited edition by Gerard Byrne is available to purchase.
THROUGH THE EYES: GERARD BYRNE is curated by Enrique Juncosa, Director, IMMA and originates at IMMA. It travels to the CAM- Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal in autumn 2012.
THROUGH THE EYES: GERARD BYRNE continues at IMMA until 31 October 2011.