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New paintings by Lucian Freud join work by Emily Dickinson, Sigmund Freud and John Berger in a new exhibition at IMMA curated by Irish artist Daphne Wright

Tuesday, 13 February, 2018: Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., was in IMMA to preview The Ethics of Scrutiny, curated by Daphne Wright, the second exhibition to be presented as part of the ground-breaking IMMA Collection: Freud Project – a five-year loan of 52 works by renowned artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011); one of the greatest painters of the 20th-century.

The Ethics of Scrutiny will be opened by Minister Madigan on the evening of Wednesday 14 February 2018 and will open to the public on Thursday 15 February at 11.30am.

In 2016 IMMA secured the loan of 50 works on a five-year loan to the IMMA Collection from a number of private lenders. The IMMA Collection: Freud Project 2016 – 2021 presented all 50 works in the first year, 30 of the artist’s finest paintings alongside 20 works on paper, in a dedicated Freud Centre in IMMA’s Garden Galleries. For the second exhibition in this unique project IMMA invited visual artist Daphne Wright to curate an exhibition in response to Lucian Freud’s works. The Ethics of Scrutiny takes aspects of Freud’s intimate studio practice as a starting point to explore themes of vulnerability, longing and loss that permeate the painter’s work. Two new paintings by Lucian Freud will be exhibited at IMMA for the first time, alongside work by other artists including Emily Dickinson, Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dumas and John Berger.

The establishment of the Freud Centre in IMMA’s Garden Galleries was made possible through capital support from the Department for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht to carry out essential improvement works at the Garden Galleries in 2016.

Minister Madigan, speaking at the preview said: “The IMMA Collection: Freud Project is an outstanding resource for Ireland. Not only does it give us the opportunity to see up close the work of this incredible, world-class artist through exhibitions such as this one, but IMMA is also building a body of knowledge and interpretation of his work that will be globally relevant for the future. It is fitting that IMMA, as a National Institution for contemporary culture, are approaching this great artist’s work by inviting living artists to offer a fresh perspective on Lucian Freud. The first exhibition was visited by tens of thousands of visitors, including thousands of school-children and students around Ireland, and I am sure they will find much to inspire them again in this latest exhibition, curated by Irish artist Daphne Wright.”

The ambitious Freud Project includes exhibitions, artist residencies research partnerships, talks, lectures and other events that offer a host of ways to connect with this celebrated artist. The project has been made possible by the generosity of the lenders and the support of the Department in conjunction with support from the visionary members of the Freud Circle; BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse who have each committed to the project for a period of three years. This commitment will ensure free access for audiences every Tuesday, in addition to the customary free access for full time students and those under 18.

Over the five-years of the loan the display in the Freud Centre will change at least once a year, bringing in new works by Freud and by other artists to offer new ways of looking at, and thinking about, Lucian Freud’s work. Artist Daphne Wright describes what drew her to curating this particular exhibition: “When I was approached by IMMA to curate this show I was fascinated and pleased, but also very aware of the challenging complexities of Freud’s work. I knew I would be consumed by dealing with these, and I have been both resentful and captivated by wrestling through issues he brings related to the psychology of looking. It has been an incredibly engrossing and deeply interesting experience, particularly when I have explored the links between Freud’s practice and that of contemporary artists, writers and scientists who have influenced my own.”

Lucian Freud chose his subjects from people who entered his life through various means from the acquaintances he encountered regularly during his gambling days, to the members of his own family and inner circle of friends who all modelled within the tight constrains of his studio. In his portraits, some painted over many months or even years, we see a body of work that examines the complex relationships between an artist and their sitter or, more broadly, we see paintings that deal with the psychology of looking.

Taking these specific aspects of Freud’s intimate and insular studio practice as a starting point, The Ethics of Scrutiny explores themes of vulnerability, longing and loss that permeate the painter’s work, while also looking to the works of other artists who address on a wider scale the complexities of representation. Placing Freud’s paintings alongside the work of writers Emily Dickinson, John Berger and Lydia Davis, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and artists Gwen John, Kathy Prendergast, Wiebke Siem, Marlene Dumas and Thomas Schütte, The Ethics of Scrutiny calls into question how we see ourselves, how our gazes fall onto one another, and importantly how our identities shift over the cycle of time. The exhibition also sees the addition of two major works by Freud, Two Brothers from Ulster, 2001, and Man in a Silver Suit, 1998.

IMMA’s Head of Collections Christina Kennedy said: “The intention of the five year IMMA Collection: Freud Project is to explore Lucian Freud’s processes and motivations and how they link to contemporary life, both within and beyond the art context. We are delighted that Daphne Wright accepted our invitation to curate this exhibition. Daphne’s own work is renowned for the manner in which it excavates the emotional archaeology that lies beneath the surface of everyday life and relationships; the tension between the appearance of things and what they reveal on closer inspection. With The Ethics of Scrutiny Wright has selected material by artists, writers, scientists and others which she has interwoven among Freud’s paintings to great effect, exploring the human psyche and the challenges of its representation. Throughout the exhibition she probes Lucian Freud the artist, the times he lived in, the impact of his own life story on his work and what drove him to paint as he did.”

– ENDS –

For further information and installation images please contact
Monica Cullinane E: [email protected] T:+353 (0)1 612 9922

For Freud images please contact John Moelwyn-Hughes, Bridgeman Images, London
E: [email protected] T: +44 (0)20 7727 4065

Additional Notes for Editors
The exhibition will be formally opened by Minister Josepha Madigan T.D. on Wednesday 14 February at 6.00pm (invitation only event). The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday 15 February at 11.30am.

Admission for this exhibition is €8/5 (concession) with free admission for IMMA Members, full-time students and under 18’s. There will be free admission for all every Tuesday. Monies raised through admission charges will directly contribute to the care and development of the IMMA Collection. Due to the number and delicate nature of the works and the limited circulation space of the historic Garden Galleries, admission will be by timed entry. To avoid disappointment please pre-book your preferred time-slot online in advance of visiting. Online booking will be available from Wednesday 14 February.

The exhibition made possible by the Freud Circle – BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse – and those donors who wish to remain anonymous.

About the curator
Daphne Wright, born 1963, Ireland, is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London, and was elected as a member of the Aosdána, in 2011. She lives and works in Dublin and Bristol. Wright’s work manoeuvres things into well-wrought but delicate doubt – shifting between taughtness and mess, it sets imagery, materials and language in constant metaphorical motion. Using a wide range of materials – plaster, tinfoil, video, printmaking, found objects and performance – she creates worlds that are beautiful and rather eerie which feel like the threshold to somewhere new.

Wright has exhibited extensively in England and Ireland since 1994, with solo exhibitions at many venues including, Emotional Archaeology, R.H.A Gallery, Dublin, 2017 and The Arnolfini, Bristol, 2016, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Douglas Hyde Gallery, 2002, Nonsense with Death, Sligo Art Gallery, 2001, and Daphne Wright, Limerick City Art Gallery, 2006, Cornerhouse, Manchester, 1994, The New Art Centre Sculpture Park and Gallery and The Lowry, 2001. She has also participated in various group exhibitions at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2000, P.S.1, New York, 1999, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1997, and Tate Liverpool, 1995. Commissions include Ham House, Trust New Art, Hanbury House, Worcester and Carlow County Council, South Tipperary County Council and Cork City Council.

Works by the artist are held in the following collections: Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Towner Art Gallery, Sussex and private collections in Ireland and the UK.

About Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud was born in Berlin to Ernst, the architect son of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and his wife Lucie Brasch. In 1933, age ten, Freud fled with his family to England, ahead of the rise of Nazism. The family settled in London where Freud lived for the rest of his life.

Freud studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and Cedric Morris’s East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. His first solo exhibition, at the Lefevre Gallery received critical acclaim in 1944, followed by a number of hallucinatory, finely-painted portraits that marked him as an artist to watch.  Freud’s adherence to realism and focus on the human figure, when abstraction and other progressive forms of practice were more prolific, moved him in and out of the spotlight until the 1980’s when renewed international interest in painting and figuration gave his work a new significance. Since then Freud has become one of the best-known and most highly-regarded British artists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Companion of Honour and the Order of Merit. Major retrospectives of his work were held in Tate Britain, 2002, IMMA 2007, MOMA, 2008 and the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2012.

Freud visited Dublin and Connemara in Ireland in the late 1940s, partly on a pilgrimage to Jack B. Yeats whom he considered the greatest living painter and later when married to Caroline Blackwood of the Guinness family. From the 1950s he connected with Irish artists such as Patrick Swift whose Dublin studio he used and Edward McGuire whose tutor he was at the Slade Art School, as well as the literary circle of Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, Brendan Behan, Anthony Cronin and their Soho milieu.  An in depth account of Freud and Ireland will be explored through the Freud Project, including his close links with the other great figurative painter of the 20th century, Irish-born and London-based, Francis Bacon – his friend, mentor and great rival of thirty years and whose studio you can visit in Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane.

Associated Talks and Events

Lucian Freud Lecture Series
IMMA is presenting a Lucian Freud Lecture Series in collaboration with The Irish Art Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin (TRIARC). IMMA and TRIARC have invited leading artists, critics and cultural researchers to offer new perspectives on Freud’s work from October 2017 to April 2018, concluding with a major symposium in April 2018. The next lecture in the series is a keynote lecture by Isabelle Graw, Professor, Städelschule, Frankfurt on 7 March 2018.

International Symposium
Rethinking Freud: Contemporary Perspectives
13 and 14 April 2018

IMMA builds on longstanding partnerships and develop new ones with colleges and universities, this symposium explores the themes, methods, motivations, milieu and multifaceted contexts of this important artist’s work in terms of contemporary art practice. The symposium takes its cue from several exhibitions themes comprising IMMA Collection: Freud Project, The Ethics of Scrutiny,

Speakers will present their research on the role of painting in art today; the anthropological and ethnographic content that Freud’s work elicits and revisit the critique of Freud’s art, in the context of his relationship with Ireland and Irish Modernism. Amongst the speakers taking part are: Catherine Lampert, Curator and Leading Specialist advisor on Freud’s work and former Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Elena Crippa, Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain; Brian Dillon,  writer, critic, and UK editor of Cabinet magazine and Head of Programme, Critical Writing in Art & Design, Royal College London; Daphne Wright, Artist and curator of The Ethics of Scrutiny; Angela Griffith, (TRIARC) TCD; as well as contemporary artists taking part on the IMMA Freud Residency.

Programmed in association with (TRIARC) TCD. Tickets are €8 and will be available to purchase at

Curator Lunchtime Talk
Friday 20 April / 1.15 – 2pm / Drop-in / Meeting Point – IMMA Main Reception

Join curator Johanne Mullan for an insightful walkthrough of The Ethics of Scrutiny to hear more about the key themes and artworks featured. Each tour is free of charge. No need to book in advance, just come to the Meeting Point in IMMA Reception

Additional talks and events will be announced throughout the Freud Project. See for the most up to date events and for booking.

IMMA Collection: Freud Project is made possible through the visionary support of the Freud Circle listed below, and those donors that wish to remain anonymous.

The exhibition is supported by