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IMMA’s National Programme travels to Cavan and Mayo

Two exhibitions from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection, organised as part of IMMA’s National Programme, open to the public this November – The Borrowing in Cootehill, Co Cavan, and The concept is the thing? in Castlebar, Co MayoThe Borrowing is the result of a partnership between the Cootehill Library & Arts Centre and IMMA, which involved members and friends of the library and arts centre curating an exhibition of work from the Museum’s Collection.  The resulting exhibition opens to the public at the Cootehill Library & Arts Centre on Friday 17 November 2006, the official launch will take place on Tuesday 21 November 2006 at 8.00pm.  The concept is the thing? is the second collaboration between Mayo General Hospital and the National Programme aimed at supporting the hospital’s growing arts programme.  The exhibition opens to the public on Friday 24 November 2006. 

The Borrowing comprises some 10 works selected by a panel of 13 curators.  The process began with a series of discussions and visits to IMMA.  The panel explored the curatorial process and the work involved in selecting, presenting and publicising an exhibition.  Works in the exhibition include Barry Flanagan’s Cricketer, 1981, a bronze sculpture of a hare who evokes the expressive attributes of a human being. Flanagan is best known for his hare sculptures which where recently seen on O’Connell Street in Dublin.  Always celebratory and life affirming Flanagan’s hare’s dance, use technical equipment, play musical instruments and, as we see here, engage in sports.  In the painting by Barrie Cooke Megaceros Hibernicus, 1983, the elk emerges majestically from the gloomy bogland with its enormous antlers treated like massive antennae transmitting, as it were, a message from the past.  Curator Nuala Browne describes this work as “magical, dreamy, imposing and reminiscent of the majestic elk of Irish history.  It is significant as the Cootehill area is still a natural habitat of the deer”.

The concept is the thing? comprises some 28 works from the IMMA Collection selected by the Mayo General Hospitals Arts Committee.  The exhibition explores the beginnings of conceptual art and includes work by prominent conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Terry Atkinson and Richard Long. Works by artists who were influenced by the conceptualists of the 1960s and ‘70s are also included.  A leading figure in American conceptual art since the 1960s, Dennis Oppenhiem’s Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, 1970, uses the artist’s body as the canvas.  During a five-hour performance the artist exposed his bare chest to the sun.  Allowing the sun to become the paint he explores the boundaries of the self and the endangerment of the body.  Hamish Fulton’s work’s Fourteen Works relates to a series of walks taken by the artist between 1982 and 1989, as far apart as Australia, Nepal, Portugal, Britain and Canada.  His artistic practice calls for a greater respect and understanding of the environment and asks us to pause and consider our impact on the routes we take through the landscape. 

IMMA’s 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 National Programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country. The National Programme establishes the Museum as inclusive, accessible and national, de-centralising the Collection, and making it available to communities in their own localities, on their own terms, in venues with which the audience is comfortable and familiar.

Both exhibitions are accompanied by workshops supported by the Department of Education and Science. 

The Borrowing continues at Cootehill Library & Arts Centre, Bridge Street, Cootehill, Co Cavan, until 9 December 2006.

The concept is the thing? continues at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, Co Mayo, until 4 February 2007.

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

13 November 2006