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IMMA presents Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age, a major group exhibition exploring desire in visual art

Major group exhibition and accompanying programme of events exploring desire in visual art opens at IMMA.

Featuring an exciting selection of modern masterworks and landmark contemporary art works by Matthew Barney, Dorothy Cross, Marcel Duchamp, Tracey Emin, Rene Magritte, Eddie Peake and others.

IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) presents one of its most ambitious and compelling exhibitions exploring desire in our everyday lives. In particular, Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age considers desire’s relationship to structures of power, individualism and emerging collective actions.

Spanning over a hundred years, the exhibition follows the development of desire through the lens of the Eurocentric male gaze and its influence in shaping artistic depictions of desire in contemporary culture, across the world. A selection of masterworks of the 20th century, from artists such as Duchamp, Ernst and Magritte, sit alongside new commissions and contemporary work, by artists including Matthew Barney, Tracey Emin, Genieve Figgis and Yayoi Kusama, tracing desire from the historical canon to present-day digital transformations. Desire: A Revision resists becoming a comprehensive survey that traces the role of art and desire. Instead, it presents perspectives on desire from a range of unique viewpoints in over 100 works, many of which have never been seen in Ireland before. It extends beyond the gallery space with newly commissioned performances by Eddie Peake and Elaine Hoey, alongside a programme of events and talks taking place during the exhibition.

The exhibition is divided into seven pivotal moments. These seven moments act as a conceptual framework from which to unpack the complexities of the following: desire and intimacy, the desire to integrate, desire and the gaze, the politics of desire, technology, and transformations of desire, and finally, an exploration of the evolution of utopianism in desire.

Desire: A Revision is the third in a trilogy of major international group exhibitions devised by IMMA to explore universal themes and their representation through art from the 20th and 21st centuries. In 2015, the first of these exhibitions, What We Call Love, From Surrealism to Now, looked at how notions of love have evolved in art, and in 2017, the second, As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics, examined how the spiritual endures in our everyday lives.

The exhibition is sponsored by luxury shopping destination Kildare Village representing Kildare Village’s commitment to supporting Irish art and culture. The collaboration will include a programme of events and innovative installations in Kildare Village, offering its guests the chance to experience the exhibition in another setting.

Commenting on the exhibition Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA said; “IMMA is delighted to present Desire: A Revision, a key part of our ambitious programme for 2019. We are particularly pleased to extend the exhibition beyond the gallery spaces through a programme of performances, talks and events in the grounds at IMMA and even more excitingly at our new partners Kildare Village. We are grateful to co-curator Yuko Hasegawa and all the artists involved for their collaboration with IMMA and we remain indebted to our Corporate Partners, Patrons and Members whose invaluable support allows IMMA to realise projects of this scale and depth. Our new partnership with Kildare Village is inspirational, not only because they are fully engaged with our artistic project, but we are discovering together that we can see the potential of having a broad and international dialogue; about how art and creativity zooms into our most core desires while pushing us outward and onward into the world and into the future.”

Commenting on the exhibition Co-Curator, Yuko Hasegawa said; “ “From the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, we have witnessed major shifts in how we collectively conceive of desire, owed both to changes in how we perceive subject/object and individuality, as well as mechanisms of modern information capitalism that continue to dislocate desire from the realm of the internal to that of external forces. The “pro” mindsets of product, promotion, productivity belie the sense of acceleration and external projection of our contemporary reality. Within this loss of desire’s inner agency, the artists in this exhibition help us re-manifest the internal imaginary realms and landscapes of desire.”

Desire: A Revision is under the direction of, and curated by, Rachel Thomas, Senior Curator, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA and Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.



For further information, and images, please contact:

Patrice Molloy E: [email protected] T: +353 1 612 9920


Additional Notes for Editors

Exhibition dates: 21 September 2019 – 22 March 2020

Admission: €8.00 / Concession €5.00 (Senior Citizens and Unwaged)

Free Admission for IMMA Members, full-time students and under 18’s.

Free Admission for all every Tuesday. Book online at

Desire: A Revision open on Culture Night, Friday 20 September, with a performance by singer Lisa Hannigan as part of an ongoing collaboration with artist Dorothy Cross. The Opening Party, supported by O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beers, will take place from 6.00 – 8.30pm, with complimentary free drinks by O’Hara’s. Access to the exhibition will be free of charge on the night.

Featured artists within the exhibition include Matthew Barney, Frank Bowling, Lee Bul, Oisín Byrne, Helen Chadwick, Dorothy Cross, David Douard, Marcel Duchamp, Tracey Emin, Justine Emard, Max Ernst, Awol Erizku, Cao Fei, Genieve Figgis, Ann Maria Healy, Elaine Hoey, James Joyce, Bharti Kher, Jonah King, Seiha Kurosawa, Yayoi Kusama, Rene Magritte, Eddie Peake, Tschabalala Self, VALIE EXPORT, amongst others to be announced.

A significant publication accompanies the exhibition, featuring contributions from the exhibiting artists, co-curators and key contemporary thinkers from a variety of fields, ranging from poetry and philosophy to architecture and performance, including Sasha Bonét, Vaari Claffey, Pádraic E. Moore, Yuko Hasegawa, Johanna Hedva, Jonah King, Aidan Mathews, Eddie Peake, Mario Perniola, Jennie Taylor and Nathalie Weadick.

A series of Limited Artist Editions by artists, including Dorothy Cross, Tracey Emin and Genieve Figgis, are available for this exhibition.

The architecture of the exhibition is designed by AP+E.

A special associated project, The Prince of Homburg, by artist Patrick Staff, is co-commissioned by IMMA and Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland. The work at IMMA is curated by Rachael Gilbourne, Assistant Curator: Exhibitions – Projects & Partnerships, IMMA in collaboration with Eoin Dara, Head of Exhibitions, DCA. The Prince of Homburg opens alongside the exhibition Desire: A Revision and continues until 17 November 2019.

The Prince of Homburg is co-commissioned by Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland, and IMMA. Supported by Arts Council England, Elephant Trust, UK, and Commonwealth & Council Gallery, USA. Video work produced by Spike Island, UK. Special thanks to producer Ali Roche and Humber Street Gallery, UK.


Associated Events

Curator to Artist Discussion / Friday 20 September / 5.30pm / Lecture Room, IMMA
Exhibition curators Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and Rachel Thomas, Senior Curator; Head of Exhibitions, IMMA invite a panel of artists to discuss their featured work and commissions comprising the exhibition Desire: A Revision. From the 20th Century to the Digital Age. Admission Free, Book online at


On Spirals, Part 3, Performance by Eddie Peake / Saturday 21 September / 6.00pm / IMMA Courtyard

Performed by Emma Fisher, Sara Lupoli, Kieram Corrin Mitchell and Eddie Peake.

Please Note: contains nudity. Admission Free, Book Online at


Curators Lunchtime Talk / Friday 4 October / 1.15pm / Meeting Point, IMMA Main Reception
Rachael Gilbourne, Exhibitions, IMMA presents an informal walk-through of the exhibition, introducing key themes and the work of artists that are central to major group show.
Drop-In / Exhibition fee applies.

For further information on a full programme of events and to book tickets visit


About the Curators

Rachel Thomas Biography

Rachel Thomas is the Chair of long-term planning and Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin. Thomas is a Leonardo fellow at Trinity College Dublin, contributor to the MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World programme at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and the European judge for the Rise Art Prize for young artists. Thomas has curated various exhibitions including solo surveys of Nan Goldin, Etel Adnan, Hélio Oiticica, Haroon Mirza, Tino Sehgal, the American Fluxus and feminist artist Eleanor Antin, Thomas Ruff, Karen Kilimnik, Margherita Manzelli, Willie Doherty, Sophie Calle and Mark Manders. She initiated and organized with Philippe Parreno the seminal group show of post relational aesthetics .all hawaii eNtrées / luNar reGGae (2007), artists included Thomas Demand, Liam Gillick, Carsten Höller, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Garrett Phelan. Thomas has introduced a new project strand to IMMA bringing to Ireland solo and group projects and new commissions by young international artists such as Gerard Byrne, Franz Ackermann, Pierre Huyghe and Thomas Demand and the ground-breaking virtual retrospective with artist Jorge Pardo. Critically acclaimed international group shows such as Primal Architecture (2015), which included Mike Kelley, Linder, Conrad Shawcross, Bedwyr Williams and What We Call Love, from Surrealism to Now (2016), co-curated with the Director of Biennale di Venezia 2017, Christine Macel and included artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marina Abramović, Constantin Brancusi, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Wolfgang Tillmans, Alberto Giacometti, Meret Oppenheim, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. Thomas has also re-examined the role of spirituality in As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics (2017), and included artists such as Hilma Af Klint, Bruce Nauman and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Most recently Thomas has curated the critically acclaimed solo exhibition of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Sunset, Sunrise (2018) which will travel to the Sharjah Art Foundation later in 2019.

Thomas was awarded a Millennium Fellowship to produce papers on global frameworks of contemporary art practice at Tate Britain, London. In 2006, she curated the Irish Pavilion, New Territories, ARCO ’06, Madrid. Curated Biennales include the Welsh Pavilion with Cerith Wyn Evans in 2000 at the Biennale di Venezia and the Lyon Biennale, with Gerard Byrne in 2008. She has lectured on the role of the curator at various symposia such as Curating Now and The Role of Painting in the 21st Century. Thomas initiated and curated the Irish Times critically acclaimed offsite project video with Dorothy Cross Stalactite (2011) in Cork. As a writer, she has published widely in journals and exhibition catalogues including an interview with Michael-Craig Martin and texts on artists such as Dorothy Cross, Gerard Byrne, Eleanor Antin, Sophie Calle, Pierre Huyghe, Alex Katz, and Thomas Scheibitz. She is actively pursuing research on the politics of space with philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben. She has lectured on the role of the curator at various symposia and on contemporary Irish art at the Guggenheim with Nancy Spector. As a writer, she has published widely in journals and exhibition catalogues, and has also worked as an online curator for Curate NYC.


Yuko Hasegawa Biography

Yuko Hasegawa is Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2016 – present) and Professor of Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts (2016 – present). She was a Chief Curator and Founding Artistic Director (1999 – 2006) of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2006-2016). She is Artistic Director of Inujima Art House Project (2011-present).

Her recent exhibitions include Intimate Distance: Masterpieces from the Ishikawa Collection (MoCo), FUKAMI –une plongée dans l’esthétique japonaise at Hotel Salmon de Rothschild, Paris(2018, Saudade : Unmemorable Place in Time at Fousun Foundation, Shanghai,(2018), Japanorama: NEW VISION ON ART SINCE 1970 at Centre Pompidou-Metz (2017), Kishio Suga: Situations at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2016), New Sensorium Exiting from Failures of Modernization at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (2016), Tokyo Art Meeting VI “TOKYO” Sensing the Cultural Magma of the Metropolis (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, 2015-2016).

Yuko Hasegawa has worked for various kinds of biennale projects: 7th Moscow Biennale (CloudsForests), 2017, Unfamiliar Asia: The Second Beijing Photo Biennial 2015 (Co-curator, 2015), The 11th Sharjah Art Biennial Re Emerge – Toward a New Cultural Cartography (Curator, 2013), The 29th Sao Paulo Biennial (Co-curator, 2010), The 12th Venice Architecture Biennale (Artistic Advisor, 2010), The 4th Seoul International Media Art Biennale Dual Realistic (Co-curator, 2006), Venice Biennale 2003, 50th International Exhibition of Art, Japan Pavilion Heterotopias , Yutaka Sone, Motohiko Odani (Commissioner, 2003), Shanghai Biennale 2002 (Co-curator, 2002-2003), and 7th International Istanbul Biennial (Artistic Director, 2001)

Her past exhibitions include Oscar Niemeyer The Man Who Built Brasilia, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan, 2015), KISHIO SUGA – SITUATED LATENCY (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan, 2015), Thomas Demand (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, 2012), Atsuko Tanaka – The Art of Connecting (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan, traveled to the Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló, Valencia, Spain, and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K., 2012), Trans-Cool Tokyo – Contemporary Japanese Art from MOT Collection (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, traveled Singapore Art Museum, Bangkok Art Culture Center and Taipei Fine Art Museum, 2011-2012), Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, traveled to Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Korea and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA, 2005), Liquid Crystal Futures: 11 Contemporary Japanese Photography (Edinburgh,1994-1996), Atsuko Tanaka – The Art of Connecting (IKON Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan, 2012)

She was a member of the Asian Art Advisory Board at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2008 – 2012), currently an advisory committee member of the Rockbund Art Museum (2014-present), an international advisory board member of The Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA), 2014-present)and an international jury of the Nasher Prize Nasher Sculpture Center (2015-present).

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.