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Do you know what you saw? at the Tallaght Community Arts Centre

Do you know what you saw? an artwork by Andrew Vickery, from the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, goes on show on Tuesday 1 November 2005 at the Tallaght Community Arts Centre, Dublin.  Do you know what you saw? is based around a journey which the artist made to see a performance of Wagner’s Parsifal in Bayreuth in Germany when he was 19, and a more recent re-tracing of that journey. Working from memory, Vickery made a series of paintings relating to the experience. Distinctions between the imagined and the remembered are unclear, with Vickery’s deceptively simple approach adding to the enchantment in the work.  Slides of the paintings are displayed in a model theatre and its accompanying village band music evokes memories of childhood and fantasy.  The theatre also functions as a threshold to another reality, here the painterly device of placing trees to the foreground and the intriguing but incomplete narrative is intended to still the memory and imagination of the viewer, further amplified by the use of music in the work.

The title of the work is taken from a line in the opera, which describes the disarray of a brotherhood of monks who guard the Holy Grail, and tells the tale of Parsifal, a simple innocent who eventually saves them through his quest for wisdom and compassion.

The viewer is drawn into a charming and enchanting realm of imagination, the childlike simplicity of the paintings adding a sense of playfulness. Vickery has chosen ‘German Drinking Tunes’ as the music accompaniment, perhaps to create a contrast between this ‘low culture’ and the ‘high culture’ experience of the Opera.

The work questions the fallibility of memory, and the naivety of perception is clearly pointed to in the title of the work.  The deceptively simple imagery in the paintings appeals on various levels, drawing the viewer into enchanting realms where the stage is open for a journey into the imagination.  As the slides change, the images chop between bucolic landscapes; cityscapes, saunas and gay-bars, scenes from the window of a train or truck and sweeping skyscapes, all depicted in the same happy, childlike manner. 

Vickery’s images blur distinctions between memory and imagination and create almost timeless worlds of experience through the use of narratives and the explicit use of illusion.

Born in Devon in 1963, Vickery now lives and works in Dublin.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of workshops with St Basil’s Traveller Group which will be facilitated by artist Cliona Harmey in response to the work. Work resulting from these workshops will be exhibited in May 2006 at Tallaght Community Arts Centre.  IMMA staff will also facilitate a series of workshops for five local national schools, supported by the Department of Education and Science.

The National Programme is designed to create access opportunities to the visual arts in a variety of situations and locations in Ireland.  Using the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and exhibitions generated by the Museum, the programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country.

Do you know what you saw? continues until 16 December 2005.

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10.00am – 5.00pm 

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: 01 612 9900 or Email: [email protected]

24 October 2005

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. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.