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New Insights into Weltkunst Collection at IMMA

A new exhibition of works from the Weltkunst Collection of British Art of the 1980s and ‘90s, curated by the distinguished British critic and curator Adrian Searle, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 24 April 2003. Searle’s approach to the exhibition is unusual, being based on a selected body of work about which he has written a fictional text. Taking its title from a sculpture of Richard Wentworth, ‘Glad that things don’t talk’ is a journey around both the works and the New Galleries building that contains them. The exhibition marks the end of the Weltkunst Collection’s stay at IMMA, where it has been on long-term loan for ten years. In addition to the Wentworth sculpture, the exhibition also includes sculptures and works on paper by Art and Language (Mel Ramsden and Michael Baldwin), Eric Bainbridge, Antony Gormley, Michael Landy, Richard Long, Lucia Nogueria, Julian Opie, Rachel Whiteread, Alison Wilding and Bill Woodrow.

‘Glad that things don’t talk’ is displayed as an installation which is intended to reveal itself gradually, hand in hand with the accompanying text, where Searle writes “Glad that things don’t talk. But they do, don’t they, they talk all the time; saying first one thing, and then another. You mustn’t let things get on top of you.” Searle is also conscious that the works are being displayed in what was once a house – in fact, the Deputy Master’s House – attached to the Royal Hospital, “Being alone in a house is a bit like the feeling an artist has, alone in the studio, thinking about what to do next. The things here – a flower stall in the basement, bullets in a bedroom, a sealed room within another room, a mysterious hidden painting – all have their own life, their own private histories and stories removed from their context as examples of British art of a certain period” he writes.

The Weltkunst Collection of British Art was begun in 1986 on the advice of Adrian Ward-Jackson as part of the work of the Weltkunst Foundation, which since 1981 has been responsible for a number of donations to leading British arts institutions, including the Royal Opera House and Ballet Rambert. Adrian Ward-Jackson died in 1991, and in 1992 the Foundation decided to continue developing the collection and lend it to museums and institutions in Adrian’s memory with his brother, Nicholas, acting as co-ordinator.

In 1994 the collection was given to IMMA on long-term loan for a period of ten years. The following year the Museum presented a large-scale exhibition British Art of the 1980s and 1990s; the Weltkunst Collection and published a major book on the collection entitled, Breaking the Mould in 1997. Since then IMMA has shown the collection in several group shows and in displays from the Museum’s Collection as well as throughout Ireland through the National Programme.

The Weltkunst Collection focuses predominantly on sculpture but also includes many large-scale photoworks, video and film installations, drawings and works on paper, and portfolios of prints. The diversity of the artworks provide a rich resource to the Museum, not least the opportunity to develop and maintain relationships with the artists involved, many of whom have visited Dublin to install their work over the years.

On Thursday 24 April at 11.30am Adrian Searle will present a lecture on curating from the Weltkunst Collection of British Art.

This exhibition continues in the New Galleries until 15 June 2003.

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]

17 April 2003