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The Artist and the State – International Symposium at IMMA

This Dublin Gallery Weekend we ask how contemporary arts practice can address the concept of national identity and statehood in a globalised world.

Leading speakers and art practitioners from Ireland and around the world will gather in IMMA this Saturday 26 November as part of an international symposium that seeks to examine the very timely and relevant topic of national identity. This one day will interrogate how artists are helping us to conceive new formations of the state while looking at the legacies of how we have been governed. Through research presentations, discussions and artists’ performance The Artist and the State will examine the identity of the nation state and look at the role of creativity in reimagining a new social and cultural order, asking what artists can bring to the table when imagining our future.

2016 has represented a time of remembrance and reflection in Ireland, with 1916 centenary commemorations taking place in the country’s foremost cultural institutions. In arts organisations like IMMA, The Hugh Lane, Create, and many more besides, these commemorations have taken the form of projects that dissect the evolution of Irish society and social ideology over the past 100 years. Looking further outside of our own nation issues such as mass mobility of people and goods, the digitising of communication and knowledge, migration, climate change and the increasing global economy have all radically changed perceptions of territories, borders and individual identity in relation to one’s nation state. In addition to this, colonial legacies of emigration, displacement and ongoing indigenous struggles create an even more profound crisis of social, cultural and political agency.

Throughout 2016 Irish art projects have reflected on our recent past as a provocation in order to better understand our present and to reframe our future. The programme for this one-day symposium draws on these works, and projects from artists whose practices advance historical and interdisciplinary research, while taking into account the unstable relationship between identity, territory, and borders in the so called age of shared ‘global territories’, ‘new Institutionalism’ and Ireland’s ‘decade of centenaries’.

For example, Jaki Irvine, in her landmark exhibition for IMMA If the Ground Should Open… has created a new sound and film work which reverberates across four interconnected rooms at IMMA. Weaving our histories past and present from the women in the Easter Rising to the modern leaked Anglo Bank tapes, Irvine’s work has been called “an inspired and essential show” by the Sunday Times, where Cristín Leach described the exhibit as being “about who we are and who we might want to become, collectively, as a nation.” Jaki will be giving a keynote speech alongside artists Jesse Jones and Sarah Browne, whose work In the Shadow of the State has been examining the concept of touch as a political action through immersive performance, soundscapes and scores. One piece, The Touching Contract, looks at how maternity hospitals and the act of labour create a new instance of interaction between women’s bodies and the State. We will also hear from Turner prize-winner Duncan Campbell, whose exhibition The Welfare of Tomás O’Hallissy – which opens in IMMA on November 25 – seeks to reframe a 1960s anthropological film on rural Kerry through a contemporary lens. Campbell scrutinises the town of Dun Chaoin, perceived as being at a crossroads between the past and the future, divesting itself of cultural markers such as language and subsistence techniques.

Throughout the day diverging propositions on the changing role of the artist and the state will be presented by: Annie Fletcher, Chief Curator, Van Abbemuseum / Mick Wilson, artist, Head of Fine Art, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg / Emily Jacir, artist / Jaki Irvine, artist / Duncan Campbell, artist / Sarah Browne, artist/ Jesse Jones, artist / Tina Kinsella, Lecturer, Critical and Contextual Studies (Fine Art) IADT/ Lisa Godson, Historian of Design and Material Culture, NCAD / Vivian Ziherl, Curator Frontier Imaginaries / Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili, artists duo / Sarah Glennie, Director, IMMA / Barabara Dawson, Director, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane/ Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Create, National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts.

The symposium will close with a performance of Love Letters to Mars by Palestinian artists Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili, as part of current exhibition The Plough and other stars. Khaldi and Khalili have imagined an extra-terrestrial correspondence that investigates immortality and origin outside of our earth. There will be a limited number of tickets available for those who wish to view the performance separately, spaces are free and can be booked through the IMMA website here

Artists’ projects throughout 2016 have reflected our recent past as a provocation to better understand our present and to reframe our future. On Saturday 26 November join curators, artists and researchers for a day of lively debate on some of the most pertinent issues we are experiencing today while offering creative and critical tools for thinking collectively. We will examine how we can act together to achieve a better sense of community and gain a deeper understanding of what a civil society and the state might mean from a past to a future generation.
A full symposium programme and schedule will be made available to all ticket holders. Tickets cost €6 and include complimentary tea/coffee and a closing drinks reception. Book here.

The Artist & the State Symposium is organised by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and Create-National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts and coincides with the opening of IMMA exhibitions; Emily Jacir, Europa and Duncan Campbell, The Welfare of Tomás O’Hallissy and is part of the Dublin Gallery Weekend 2016. Convened by Annie Fletcher and Sarah Glennie, co-curators of the exhibition El Lissitzky: The Artist and the State, this symposium is part of the Official Ireland 2016 Programme.


For additional information, press accreditation or images please contact
Monica Cullinane E:
[email protected] T:+353 (0)1 612 9922 /
Patrice Molloy E:
[email protected] T: +353 (0)1 612 9920


Annie Fletcher (Chair) is currently Chief Curator at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, where the exhibition Positions #2 (with Anna Boghiguian, Chia-Wei Hsu, Nástio Mosquito and Sarah Pierce) is currently on show. She recently worked on the “Museum of Arte Util” with Tanja Bruguera, and a retrospective of Hito Steyerl. She curated “After the Future” at eva International Biennial of Visual Art in 2012. Other projects include solo exhibitions or presentations with Sheela Gowda, David Maljkovic, Jo Baer, Jutta Koether, Deimantas Narkevicius, Minerva Cuevas, and the long term projects, Be(com)ing Dutch (2006-09) and Cork Caucus (2005) with Charles Esche. She was co-founder and co-director of the rolling curatorial platform “If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution” with Frederique Bergholtz (2005-10). As a writer she has contributed to various magazines including Afterall and Metropolis M.

Mick Wilson (Chair) is currently employed as the first Head of the Valand Academy of Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2012- present); was formerly founder Dean of the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Ireland (2008-2012); and prior to this was first Head of Research, National College of Art and Design, Ireland(2005-2007). Mick Wilson completed his doctoral thesis ‘Conflicted Faculties: Rhetoric, Knowledge Conflict and the University’ (NUI, 2006) and has been active in developing doctoral education across the arts as Chair of the SHARE Network (2010-ongoing); as a member of the European Artistic Research Network, EARN (2005-ongoing); and as Editor-in-Chief for the Platform for Artistic Research Sweden: PARSE (2015-).

Emily Jacir (Keynote) is an artist who lives and works in Italy and Palestine. She is renowned for works about transformation, the act of translation, and the logic of the archive. As poetic as it is political and biographical, her work investigates various histories of colonization, exchange, resistance, and migration. Jacir has built a complex and compelling oeuvre through a diverse range of media and methodologies that include unearthing historic material, performative gestures and in-depth research. In her practice she also explores personal and collective movement and its implications on the physical and social experience of trans-Mediterranean space and time in particular between Italy and Palestine. Jacir’s works have been shown at numerous museums and venues in Europe, the Arab world and the Americas since 1994. Jacir is the recipient of several awards, including a Golden Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); a Prince Claus Award (2007); the Hugo Boss Prize (2008); the Herb Alpert Award (2011); and the Rome Prize (2015).

Jaki Irvine is an artist who lives and works in Dublin and Mexico City. She is concerned with how we come to imagine and understand ourselves from within our privacy and often uses video installation as a way to reflect on moments where this process, awkwardly and unavoidably, comes spilling into the public spaces of our lives. Her solo exhibitions include Project Arts Centre (1996), Kerlin Gallery (2004) and the Douglas Hyde Gallery (1999, 2005) in Dublin, Frith Street Gallery (1997, 1999, 2011) the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany (1998) and Delfina Project Space (2001) in London, Henry Moore Institute (2004) Leeds and Galleria Alessandro de March (2004) Milan. In 1995 Irvine was included in the seminal exhibition of Young British Artists, General Release, at the Venice Biennale, and represented Ireland at the 1997 Biennale. In 2008 Irvine produced a major video installation entitled ‘In a World Like This’, which was produced in collaboration with Chisenhale Gallery, London and The Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo. In 2011, a new solo exhibition of video works ‘Before This Page is Turned’, developed in the Dublin Graphic Print Studios, was presented at the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. She has also participated in numerous group shows throughout Europe, Australia and Japan. Irvine is represented in the collections of IMMA, the Irish Arts Council, Tate Modern, FRAC and in numerous other collections, both public and private.

Duncan Campbell is best known for his films which focus on particular moments in history, and the people and objects at the centre of those histories. He uses archive material as a route to research subjects and histories that he feels are important. The process of making the films becomes a means to further understand his subjects and reveal the complexity of how they have been previously represented. Although these histories are located in specific times and geographies they resonate with and inform our present. Extensive research into the subjects through archival material underpins all of the films and the histories Campbell chooses to focus on and reflect his interest. Using both archival and filmed material, his films question our reading of the documentary form as a fixed representation of reality, opening up boundaries between the actual and the imagined, record and interpretation.

Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones are both based in Dublin and studied at the National College of Art and Design. Their collaboration, as a feminist practice, brings together mutual concerns. They have each made numerous works within and outside gallery spaces, and have extensive experience working in collaborative contexts and through public art commissions. Their exhibitions, films and public projects have been produced on a national and an international level, for institutions such as Project Arts Centre, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Istanbul Biennale, Artsonje Seoul, the Daimler Art Collection and the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Most recent projects include Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones: In the Shadow of the State. Also see Jesse Jones – No More Fun and Games ; Sarah Browne – The Show Room

Dr. Tina Kinsella is Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies (Art) at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College Dublin. Her research institutes conversations between psychoanalysis, affect theory, gender studies and artistic practice to explore the performative intersections of aesthetics, ethics, subjectivity and politics. Recent publications include: ‘Liquidities – Transactive Border Spaces and Threshold Structures (Between the Harbour and the Sea)’, Performance Research Journal, Volume 21, Issue 2, co-authored with Dr. Silvia Loeffler, (2016); ‘This is the fluid in which we meet … On Alice Maher’s Recent Drawings, The Glorious Maids of the Charnel House’, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery (2016); ‘Representing Desire? Reconsidering Female Sexuality and Eroticism in Umbilical’, Performance Ireland Journal (2016); ‘Sundering the Spell of Visibility: Bracha L. Ettinger, Abstract-Becoming-Figural, Thought-Becoming Form’, in And My Heart Wound-Space Within Me, 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015).

Lisa Godson is a historian of design and material culture, and also researches and writes about contemporary design. She studied History of Art at Trinity College Dublin (BA 1994) and History of Design at the Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum, London (MA 1998, PhD 2008). Godson has held tenured lecturing posts in a number of institutions including DIT and the Royal College of Art, where she was lead tutor in critical studies for MA design interaction, product design and industrial design. She was RCA Teaching and Learning Fellow and devised the college Virtual Learning Environment RCAde. She was NCAD Fellow at the inter-institutional Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM) 2009-13, where she was part of the team that developed and taught a pioneering structured doctoral research programme and chaired two research seminars, in historiography and theories of contemporary design. One characteristic of Godson’s teaching involves devising student research projects in collaboration with institutions, recently with the Little Museum of Dublin for the Secret Lives of Objects exhibition, symposium and publication (2015), and (alongside UCD Art History) with the National Library of Ireland on their ‘large books’ collection, leading to a public symposium (2012). Recent publications include the co-edited volumes Making 1916: material and visual culture of the Easter Rising (Liverpool University Press: 2015); Design learning in an age of austerity (Cumulus: 2015); the co-authored 10,000-word essay ‘Design in Twentieth Century Ireland’ in volume 5 of the History of Art and Architecture of Ireland (Yale/RIA: 2014).

Vivian Ziherl is an Associate Curator at ‘If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part Of Your Revolution’ (Amsterdam) and Curatorial Fellow at the Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane). Her recent projects include the ongoing research project Landings curated with Natasha Ginwala and initiated in partnership with the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and well as the performance series ‘Stage It! Parts 1 & 2’ commissioned for the re-opening of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and curated with Hendrik Folkerts. Vivian has presented programmes with the ICA London, teaches with the Sandberg Institute Department of Critical Studies, and is editor of The Lip Anthology (Macmillan Art Publishing and Kunstverein Publishing). Her writing has been published in the Curating Research anthology (eds. Paul O’Neil and Mick Wilson) and has appeared in periodicals including the e-Flux Journal, Art Agenda, Frieze, Metropolis M, Discipline, and the Journal of Art (Art Association of Australia and New Zealand), among others.

Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili have been collaborating in the development of performance lectures and other works since 2009. Collaborative work includes’ Love Letter to Mars’, iterations of which were presented previously at Medrar, Cairo, 2013 and OCA, Oslo, 2014; ‘Love Letters to a Union: The Falling Comrades’, at Forum Expanded, 2015; ‘Love Letters to a Union’, at HomeWorks 6, Beirut, 2013; ‘All the Other Lovers’, at the NEME symposium ‘Through the Roadblocks’, Limassol 2012. A new iteration of ‘Love Letters to Mars’ will be presented at IMMA, Dublin, 2016, as part of the exhibition ‘The Plough, and other stars’.

Sarah Glennie, Director, IMMA.
Barbara Dawson, Director, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.
Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Create, National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts.