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IMMA presents an exhibition exploring climate change, the housing crisis, borders and identity

Opening on Friday 12 April 2019, IMMA presents a group exhibition of emerging Irish and international artists addressing some of the broader concerns of Generation Y. A Vague Anxiety addresses concerns that we face in contemporary society, from political points of departure such as borders, housing, and the environment; to the personal such as mental health, hook-up culture, gender identity and precarity; pressing issues in today’s society.

Such themes are addressed through diverse mediums from traditional painting, sculpture and photography; through to installation, workshops and performance. Featured artists include Cristina Bunello, Marie Farrington, Saidhbhín Gibson, Helio León, plattenbaustudio, Brian Teeling and Susanne Wawra, with performances by Alexis Blake and Stasis.

The exhibition title reflects on the rising levels of anxiety in our media-driven lives and how many of these concerns are constantly, and somewhat vaguely in the backdrop of our daily existence. This exhibition neither poses questions nor presents solutions but reflects on our present tensions.

Works in the exhibition range from Irish artist Saidhbhín Gibson’s Don’t call me daisy (2019), which investigates the issue of climate change through the biographical account of a plant, native to the Arizona desert, which is wilting from the excesses of heat.

Tenses (2019) and Settings (2019) are by Irish Sculptor Marie Farrington. Farrington uses conceptually loaded materials thought out her practice including used engine oil, a by-product of the petrochemical industry and transport, both of which involve the massive transfer of carbon into the atmosphere with destructive environmental results.

Susanne Wawra, born in the former East Germany, addresses borders and politics in her painting Pointers (2018); an image from her family’s personal photographic archive transferred onto canvas and combined with abstract painting. The work shows the habit of pointing fingers and having to develop a sense of who could be trusted or who might be a spy for the Stasi, the secret police in East Germany.

The Irish housing crisis is investigated by plattenbaustudio, a Berlin-based duo of architects Jonathan Janssens and Jennifer O’Donnell. 20 Square Metres (2013), is a scale drawing of an architectural plan which corresponds exactly to a bedsit which they lived in, in Ranelagh, Dublin. Irish artist Brian Teeling addresses the housing crisis in his photographs, Apollo House (2016) and House (2016), taken before the demolition of Apollo House; the NAMA-controlled empty office building had been the focus of popular protest. Spanish artist Helio León’s Tarlabaşi, Istanbul (2012), shows a city in the midst of aggressive gentrification policies. This work shows the partially derelict neighbourhood of Tarlabaşi, which is waiting for demolition; breaking up an ethnic community within the city.

Other works by Brian Teeling include Brief Terror (2018) and Help Me I Am In Hell (2017), deeply intimate portrayals of the artist’s struggle with mental health. While Wet Dream, (2017) is a record of fleeting and unfamiliar intimacy, documenting sexual encounters that Teeling sought out through online dating apps.

Throughout the exhibition are portraits by Italian artist Cristina Bunello witnessing what is happening in the contemporary world. Girl Seated (2014) is a painting in which the anxiety of a young girl is palpable; and we are confronted with thoughts that these issues will be passed to the next generation.

IMMA has previously addressed some of these concerns in projects including A Fair Land, 2016, for which a model village was built in the IMMA Courtyard, and The Calais Maps, 2017 by architect Grainne Hassett.

Admission is free.



For further information and images please contact

Patrice Molloy E: [email protected] T: +353 (0)1 6129920


Additional Notes

Exhibition dates: 12 April – 18 August 2019


Visit in the coming weeks for details of performances by Stasis and Alexis Blake.

Talks and Events

In association with the exhibition A Vague Anxiety, an interdisciplinary talk series will address contemporary concerns expressed in the work of the featured artists. Ranging from the political to the personal, artists and their invited guests explore prevailing anxieties of contemporary living, in tacking issues of gender, identity, the environment, space, borders and the paradigm of digital technologies. The programme comprises of artists’ talks, workshops, topical lectures and a lunchtime talk by curator of the exhibition Seán Kissane, on Friday 7 June at 1.15pm.

For a full programme of talks and events and to book tickets visit

Exhibition curated by Sean Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA

Performance programme curated by Poi Marr, Curator, Glasgow International

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.