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Cristina Iglesias at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

The first exhibition in Ireland of the work of the Spanish sculptor and installation artist Cristina Iglesias opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 17 July. Cristina Iglesias brings together some 20 works, created over the past 20 years, which combine traditions and techniques from sculpture, architecture, theatre, printmaking, and photography and video. Iglesias choreographs all these elements to present sensual and evocative environments featuring soaring canopies, intricate Moorish labyrinths and walls masquerading as forests.

Cristina Iglesias is an international travelling exhibition organised by Fundação de Serralves, Museu de Arte Contemporânea Porto, Portugal. It is curated by Michael Tarantino and co-produced by Whitechapel, London, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. It is supported by Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Spain, ESB International and Culture 2000. The exhibition will be officially opened by HE Mr Enrique Pastor, Ambassador of Spain on Wednesday 16 July at 6.00pm.

Cristina Iglesias is one of a generation of artists, which in the 1980s expanded the object of sculpture into the new realm of installation while, at the same time, re-engaging with the art of representation. In contrast to their Modernist predecessors, their work is primarily figurative, evoking the body, either directly or as an “absent presence”, and referring to everyday objects such as furniture, rooms and buildings.

Although part of this general movement, Iglesias employs her own very distinctive vocabularly, which draws on architectual, literary and decorative traditions that span the history of Western civilization. Using elaborate casts, curving walls and flying canopies, she creates zones of experience or rises en scène which, crucially, are activated by the viewer and interact with the spaces they occupy. As Iglesias explains: “I am interested in making pieces that are sensitive to the space they occupy, working with it to create meaning. For this reason there are motifs that tend to appear time and again because they change when you change the container.”

In ‘Vegetation Rooms’ we are drawn into a strange, Alice-in-Wonderland-like world of blind corridors, whose walls are variously decorated with casts of bamboo and eucalyptus, decaying leaves and octopus tentacles. The objects on the surface may look functional or natural, but on closer inspection, show themselves to be artificial. In ‘Jealousies’ large mesh screens, composed of small squares and diagonals reminescent of Moorish architecture, are used to form intimate chambers (in Spanish the word ‘celosia’ means a slanted shutter or a vertical blind or the emotion jealousy). The screens are further decorated with extracts from the works of modernist visionary writers like Raymond Roussel and Joris Karl Huysmans.

On Thursday 17 July at 11.30am Cristina Iglesias will discuss her work with the critic Adrian Searle, in the exhibition space. Booking is essential as space is limited (tel: 01-612 9948 or email [email protected])

A catalogue with essays by Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel, London, and Michael Tarantino and an interview with the artist accompanies the exhibition (price €35.00).

Cristina Iglesias continues until 5 October.

Admission is free.

Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sun, Bank Holidays 12 noon – 5.30pm
Mondays Closed

For further information and colour and black and white images please contact Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900, Fax : +353 1 612 9999, Email : [email protected]

5 July 2003