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The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection

Click here to view the 2016 Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection exhibition page. 


Thursday, 14th July, 2016: Today, Hennessy Ireland and IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) announce a new multi-year partnership and acquisition fund to purchase works by Irish and Irish based artists that are not yet part of the IMMA National Collection of Contemporary and Modern Art. Entitled, The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection, this initiative has enabled IMMA to purchase multiple works for the Collection for the first time since 2011.

Artists will be nominated by a selection panel, including Director Sarah Glennie and Head of Collections Christina Kennedy, and each year will include an independent guest curator. This year’s guest panellist is Emma Lucy O’Brien from the VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow, with final recommendations approved by the IMMA Collection & Acquisitions Committee, in line with IMMA’s Collection policy.

Four works by four different Irish based artists have been selected, and the chosen artists for 2016 are Kevin Atherton, David Beattie, Rhona Byrne and Dennis McNulty. All of the works are installations that variously engage film, performance, new media, sound, found objects, everyday materials and audience participation.  They are being exhibited as part of IMMA Collection: A Decade, an exhibition which provides a snapshot of how the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary art has developed over the past 10 years.

Kevin Atherton’s video installation is a recurring engagement with his younger self through a filmed conversation first begun in 1978 when he was 27 years old, and was most recently conducted by his more mature self in 2014, 36 years on. Rhona Byrne’s interactive work invites people to reconstruct her life-size sculptural installation and make their own environments.  Through a kinetic juxtaposition of materials including a cymbal and piece of concrete David Beattie explores the physicality of sound and how we experience it in our everyday, while Dennis McNulty’s research for a commission in Norway has led to a layered, performative multi-component work that takes 1930s science writing and a 1980s pop song by a-ha to join ideas of universal time.

The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection will see artists based in Ireland and Irish artists living abroad eligible for selection each year. Works will be sought that show excellence and innovation within contemporary art developments and represent a signal moment of achievement within the artist’s practice. Work must also have been made within the previous five years.

Commenting on the Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA, artist Kevin Atherton said: ‘For me the recent purchase of my work by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, made possible by the generous sponsorship of Hennessy, means a great deal, acting as it does as a confirmation of the welcome I felt when I first moved to Dublin from London in 1999. Having chosen to come to a country with a vibrant and dynamic contemporary art scene seventeen years ago, I feel a part of that scene and am delighted that my work be viewed through an Irish optic that although rooted in Ireland is international in outlook.’

David Beattie added to this by saying, ‘The purchase of the work by Hennessy for the IMMA collection is a significant moment for myself as it is the first of my works to become part of a museum collection. I think being part of the IMMA collection has added significance because of the important role that IMMA plays in the wider art community in Ireland and internationally.’ 

Elaine Cullen, Market Development Manager for Moet Hennessy Ireland, said: ‘This new partnership with IMMA continues Hennessy’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing Irish talent within arts and culture. It’s a privilege to enable the acquisition of such high calibre work for the National Collection at IMMA.’

Sarah Glennie, Director of IMMA, said: “IMMA is, above all else, committed to supporting artists’ work. Together with artists, and visionary partners like Hennessy Ireland, the museum works to support the development, understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art in Ireland. As Ireland’s contemporary visual artists continue to strengthen, Irish artists’ work is increasingly recognised on the international stage as well as making an invaluable contribution to Irish society. Artists are an essential voice in any contemporary society and IMMA is committed to supporting Irish artists’ ability to live and work in Ireland. The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection is a key initiative in supporting this objective, making it possible for the museum to purchase work for the first time since 2011.”

Founded in Cognac, France in 1765 by Corkonian Richard Hennessy, Hennessy’s distinctly Irish heritage has stood the test of time and today draws on more than 250 years of knowledge, talent, expertise and passion. Highlights of the Hennessy cultural calendar include the Hennessy Portrait Prize with the National Gallery of Ireland, the Hennessy Literary Awards, one of Ireland’s longest running cultural sponsorships, and Hennessy Lost Fridays with the RHA.

For further information visit and, log onto the Hennessy Cognac Ireland’s Facebook page, or follow Hennessy on Twitter @HennessyIRL and Instagram @HennessyIRL.


The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection 2016 Artists

Kevin Atherton

Kevin Atherton is an artist who works with performance and new media in sculptural contexts. A fine art educator, his is a time-based practice with an ongoing interest in the relationship between the real and the fictional. Since 1980s he has created many large scale public sculptural commissions. He was Head of the Department of Postgraduate Pathways in the Faculty of Fine Art in NCAD and as such has influenced a whole generation of young artists.

In Two Minds premiered in 1978 at the Project Arts Centre  and recently has been included in the following group exhibitions:  2009: San Francisco MOMA; 2012: MOMA Vienna, Tate Britain, ICA London;  2014:  IMMA, Primal Architecture.

David Beattie

David Beattie is an artist who lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. He has received a number of Arts Council bursaries, most recently 2015, and was awarded the Harpo Foundation Award in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions include Temple Bar Gallery and Studios (2011); The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh and Mercer Union Centre for Contemporary Visual Art, Toronto, Canada (both 2010). Beattie has been included in numerous group exhibitions including In the Line of Beauty, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2013), O Brave New World, Rubicon Projects, Brussels (2013) All Humans Do, The Model, Sligo and Whitebox, New York (2012); Holding Together, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2010); La Part des Choses, Mains d’Oeuvres, Paris, and in Quiet Revolution, Hayward Touring, UK (2009).

Rhona Byrne

Rhona Byrne lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. Rhona makes sculptural objects and spatial environments combining sculpture, performance and processes of participation that explore a negotiation of object, place and social practice. Recent and upcoming projects and exhibitions include, Pathways, Education Hub, Art commission, Maynooth University; A Fair Land, Irish Museum of Modern Art; Mobile Monuments, Fingal County Council public art commission; Huddle Tests solo show at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios; Huddlewear, Facebook AIR program residency/commission; Mobile Monuments, Fingal County Council 1916 Public Art commission; On that Note, Heart of Glass, Liverpool; Moving Thresholds, National Gallery of Ireland; Ridge, Verksmi∂jan, Hjalteyri, Iceland; It’s All up in the Air, Norfolk and Norwich Arts Festival, Uk; Bolthole, Open Studio, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, IMMA   

Dennis McNulty

Dennis McNulty makes video works, sound works and installations, and in recent years, has produced a number of complex multi-layered performance works. His work is conceptual and research driven and often draws on aspects of cinema, sculpture, sound and performance to create hybrid forms.  How as human beings we unconsciously accumulate knowledge through our interaction with our environment, especially the built environment and how that has played out through history in terms of architecture and engineering – frequently provides the starting point for McNulty’s artworks.

Through research, McNulty looks for new frameworks for activity, to create works which propose a new kind of relationship to time and space, to histories, as well as our bodily experience of such forms.

I reached inside myself through time, 2015 was specially commissioned for the group exhibition LIAF 2015: Disappearing Acts, Lofoten, Norway’s International Art Festival, curated by Matt Packer and Arne Skaug Olsen.

Recent and current exhibitions include The Time Domain, a site specific live work, presented during Liverpool Biennal 2016, co-commissioned between Bluecoat School and Liverpool Biennial;    2015: I reached inside myself through time, commissioned for LIAF, Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway, 2014: PROTOTYPES, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick; A Leisure Complex, Collective, Edinburgh; 2013:  INTERZONE, The Box, The Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio; The Face of Something New, Scriptings, Berlin;  
A Stew of Universals, ZKU, Berlin;  2012:  PRECAST, off-site project, London;  INTERZONE, Seamus Ennis Center, Fingal, Co Dublin, 2011:  The Eyes of Ayn Rand, Performa 11, New York;  
Another Construction, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin;  Space replaced by volume, Granoff Centre for the Arts, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

About Hennessy
Immersed in Irish heritage, Hennessy has evolved to become one of Ireland’s most well-known and cherished brands. Founded in Cognac, France in 1765 by Corkonian Richard Hennessy, the brand’s distinctly Irish heritage has stood the test of time and today draws upon some 200 years of knowledge, talent, expertise and passion. It is a brand that is intrinsically linked to the Irish way of life and is complemented by Hennessy’s commitment to Ireland’s unique sociability and skill in creating unforgettable experiences.

Hennessy’s Savoir-Faire is evident from its unique heritage, tradition and exceptional craftsmanship which create Hennessy Cognac. Though the Hennessy brand has evolved throughout the years, the true art form of its traditions and methods remains timeless.

About IMMA
IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) is Ireland’s leading national institution of Contemporary and Modern art. Based in its home at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, IMMA is celebrated for its vibrant and dynamic exhibition and education programmes.

IMMA is the home of the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary art. Now numbering over 3,500 works, IMMA ensures that this collection is accessible to visitors to IMMA and beyond, through exhibitions, collaborations, loans, touring partnerships and digital programmes.

Visited by over 475,000 people in 2015, IMMA is one of Ireland’s leading cultural institutions and a key source of creativity and inspiration for visitors of all walks of life. One out of every eight IMMA visitors experiences visual art for the first time through their IMMA visit. The museum is driven to inspire a curiosity and appreciation of Irish contemporary art amongst their audience and the wider Irish public.


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.