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Imaging Ulysses at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

An exhibition of 112 works by the distinguished British artist Richard Hamilton based on his pre-occupation over 50 years with James Joyce’s Ulysses opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 13 June 2002. Imaging Ulysses traces, in drawings, etchings and digital prints, Leopold Bloom’s wandering through the 18 chapters of the novel, each image treated in a different manner reflecting the highly experimental nature of the book. The exhibition assembles all the studies and prints produced since the project began, and includes such key works as The heaventree of stars, 1998, from Ithaca and Finn MacCool, 1983, from the Cyclops episode.

The idea of illustrating Ulysses, which was published in 1922, the year of Hamilton’s birth, first occurred to Hamilton while doing his National Service in 1947. Following that, as a student at the Slade, he made numerous preliminary drawings and studies with the view to producing etched illustrations to Joyce’s text, but for technical and practical reasons the project was put aside in 1950. After a break of more than 30 years Hamilton resumed the illustrations in a series of large-scale etchings during the 1980’s. Some of these are reworkings of the earlier studies, others are completely new treatments. In the 1990’s, with the computer as an increasingly important tool in Hamilton’s repertoire, the Iris digital print joined the sequence of illustrations. Evolving technically and intellectually over a lifetime, Hamilton’s images represent an odyssey through the themes and ideas of his own career as well as those of Joyce.

Imaging Ulysses is organised by the British Council, London, in association with the British Museum, London, and is curated by Stephen Coppel, Assistant Keeper, Department of Prints and Drawings, the British Museum. The exhibition was shown at the British Museum earlier this year and has also toured to the International Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Tübingen, Germany.

A number of talks have been arranged to coincide with the exhibition:

In Conversation
Richard Hamilton and Stephen Coppel
Thursday 13 June 11.30am, East Wing Galleries. Booking essential.

Hamilton’s Odyssey: Joyce’s Ulysses
A gallery talk presented by Gerry Dukes, author, critic and lecturer on Bloomsday
Sunday 16 June 3.00pm. Booking essential.

Introducing Art influenced by Joyce
Lecture presented by Dr Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes
Sunday 21 July 3.00pm, Johnston Suite. Booking essential.

The exhibition is supported by The Irish Times.

A fully-illustrated catalogue, with essays by Richard Hamilton and Stephen Coppel, accompanies the exhibition (price €20.00).

Richard Hamilton Imaging Ulysses continues until 14 September 2002.

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]

4 June 2002

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.