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Ann Hamilton Exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

The first exhibition in Ireland by the internationally-acclaimed American artist Ann Hamilton opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 27 March 2002. Ann Hamilton at hand encompasses a broad range of the artist’s work, from a new complex installation to a series of video and photo works and sculptural objects, and spans her practice from the early 1980s to the present day. It includes the first European showing of a dramatic new work, at hand, created in 2001.

Ann Hamilton creates sensory environments that often combine sound, text, video, photographs, books and vast quantities of material substances. They can also, conversely, be a space emptied of everything but its own presence and, crucially, the visitor is present to witness the work. These process-based installations are so particular to their sites that, after their initial showing, they survive mostly in documentary form. Quite often however, the sculptural objects and videos from the installations are recognised as independent works by the artist and take on another existence beyond the life span of the installation. Whether amassing enormous quantities of material or clearing large architectural spaces, Hamilton’s focus is always on the way a body of knowledge is generated, contained, perceived and absorbed. All, be they three-storey buildings or objects the size of a thimble, are imbued with new meaning, creating environments that are in the words of Robert Storr, Director MoMA, New York, “elegantly simple and gently disorienting”. In the past decade Hamilton has collaborated more and more with poets and dancers aligning her work more closely with performance art than traditional sculpture, she is currently collaborating on a performance entitled Mercy with choreographer and dancer, Meredith Monk.

Key to the show is the series of four video works which focus on acts of speaking and hearing – aleph, 1992/1993, dissections…they said it was an experiment, 1988/1993, linings, 1990/1993 and the capacity of absorption, 1988/1993. Each video displays a tightly-cropped image of the artist rolling pebbles in her mouth, allowing water to spill in or out of her mouth, onto her throat and into her ear. These simple isolated gestures, which seem to block hearing and speaking, are repeated to abstraction. Key photographic works include the body object series from the early 1980s and the face to face series from 2001.

Also included in the exhibition are several additional video works, sculptural objects and her most recent installation at hand, 2001. This installation comprises light leaves of paper floating endlessly down from the ceiling in response to visitors passing through the space to an accompanying soundtrack of the artist’s voice.

Since she first came to public attention in the early 1980s Ann Hamilton has exhibited at MoMA, New York; the 1999 Venice Biennale, where she was the official US representative, and at Tate Liverpool. Her many awards included the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award, as well as the Guggenheim and the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships.

At 11.30am on Wednesday 27 March Ann Hamilton will give an illustrated lecture on her work at the Museum and will sign copies of Ann Hamilton, a comprehensive publication on her work by writer, editor and curator Joan Simon, published by Harry N Abrams Inc, New York (price €75.00). Admission to the lecture is free, but booking is essential.

Ann Hamilton at hand continues until 14 July 2002. The exhibition is supported by Atlas Copco (Ireland) Ltd.

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 Philomena Byrne or Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900, Fax : +353 1 612 9999 email [email protected]
15 March 2002