13 October 2017 – 30 September 2018, East Wing Galleries
Coast-Lines is a major new exhibition from the IMMA Collection that draws on the paradox implicit in the word ‘coastline’ – for never has a coast followed a linear course. Instead the title throws a line around a 12 month programme of changing displays of artworks and archival material that will explore our sense of place, perception, representation and memory.
Works by Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Anne Madden, Anita Groener, Michael Mulcahy, Donald Teskey, Tony O’Malley, Alexandra Wejchert, Bridget Riley and others variously explore pattern and line, surface, folds, enclosures, erasures, borders, terrain, the inherent coastal tensions between motion and stillness and any attempt to map what our senses perceive. Others such as Brian O’Doherty, Hamish Fulton, Tim Robinson and OMG collective criss-cross those themes using photographic, linear, linguistic and coded systems to invoke a mind/body relationship.
A key work in the exhibition, and shown at IMMA for the first time, is the monumental installation, Tabernacle (2013), an extraordinary work by Dorothy Cross in which a life-size currach forms the roof of a hut-like structure that opens towards a projection of her video work Sea Cave (2013). Shot near the bottom of her land in Connemara, the sea cave she captures is only accessible a few days a year due to tides. Cross previously used the currach as part of her set design for the English National Opera’s 2008 production of J.M. Synge’s haunting play ‘Riders to the Sea’, (1903) directed by Fiona Shaw.
The decade of the 1960s is another particular focus in the exhibition. On the international art scene it was a time that was highly energised, much more than any other decade. Each year saw a new movement surface: Pop, Op, Kinetic, Minimalism, Conceptual art, amongst others. In Ireland at that time we saw, in 1967, the emergence of the first Rosc; a series of six major exhibitions of international art that had a significant impact on contemporary art developments in Ireland. While Rosc ’67 was indeed a major showcase it was less about contemporary developments of that time than it was a ‘catch-up’ survey of 20th century masterworks for the benefit of Irish citizens and visiting international audiences. IMMA has been re-examining Rosc across the programme this past year, and Coast-Lines continues this thread by provides glimpses of some concurrent moments in the art world of the 1960s and ’70s with artworks and archival holdings that draw on the Gordon Lambert and Timothy Drever/Robinson archives in the IMMA Collection.
A number of displays in Coast-Lines will include Irish artists who were working internationally in the late ’60s and ’70s such as Brian O’Doherty, James Coleman, Noel Sheridan and Anne Madden. A key work of the period is the ground breaking Aspen 5+6 (1967), a double issue of the experimental New York magazine, assembled, curated and edited by Brian O’Doherty. Known as ‘The Minimalism Issue’ it is a multimedia exhibition in a box, consisting of artworks, recordings and theoretical writings and is recognised as the first conceptual exhibition that did away with the gallery space. Delivered to subscribers in a two-piece white box containing 28 items, Aspen 5+6 includes contributions by artists such as Robert Morris; Robert Rauschenberg; Mel Bochner; essays by Susan Sontag; Roland Barthes; sound recordings by Marcel Duchamp; William Borroughs; Jack McGowran’s recording of a text by Samuel Beckett; as well as music scores, films and DIY miniature cardboard sculptures.
Invited to respond to Aspen 5+6, the Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG) is a group of artists and non-engineering researchers based at CONNECT, Ireland’s research centre for future networks and communications based at Trinity College Dublin. For Coast-Lines OMG draw together two projects from 1967: Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) founded by Robert Rauschenberg and Billy Klüver and Aspen 5+6 edited by Brian O’Doherty. In the work Placement as Language (2017) Aspen 5+6’s three essays become source material for parallel Twitter feeds, replacing its original communication platform (a magazine in a box) with a contemporary one (Twitter). Two feeds; Aspen ordered and re-ordered, are printed onto streams of paper in the gallery and are available to read online. @aspen_ordered divides the three essays into Twitter-sized 140 character chunks, transmitting them one by one into the world. @aspen_reordered employs an algorithm to create new variations on the original texts. These variations are generated by a statistical algorithm called a Markov Chain that generates sentences based on the probability of one word following another in the original text.
OMG’s multi-faceted project for Coast-Lines will include a talk by E.A.T. Director Julie Martin on the history of the organisation, an ‘unboxing’ of Aspen 5+6 by Julie Martin and curator/NYU Professor Melissa Rachieff in December (a video documenting their experience will be available to see in the gallery from January) and a special series of talks and workshops taking place in 2018 to introduce the work of Aspen 5+6 and E.A.T to maths teachers.
Coast-Lines will evolve and expand throughout the run of the exhibition; a key moment will be the addition of a number of Lucian Freud works from the IMMA Collection: Freud Project in January 2018.
Additional Notes for Editors
Coast-Lines is showing in the Main Galleries, East Wing from 13 October 2017 to 30 September 2018. Admission is Free.
Margaret Benyon, Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Gerard Dillon, Brian Eno, T.P. Flanagan, Gerda Frömel, Hamish Fulton, Helena Gorey, Anita Groener, Paul Henry, Patrick Heron, John Hinde, John Hoyland, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Julio Le Parc, Anne Madden, Norah McGuiness, Stephen McKenna, Sean McSweeney, Michael Mulcahy, Brian O’Doherty, Tony O’Malley, Betty Parsons, Bridget Riley, Nano Reid, Tim Robinson, Peter Sedgley, Noel Sheridan, Jesús-Rafael Soto, Camille Souter, John Millington Synge, Donald Teskey, Victor Vasarely, Alexandra Wejchert and Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG) at CONNECT.
A timeline within the exhibition spanning the 1940s to the 1970s contextualises the pre and post Rosc art scene in Ireland, highlighting key moments and exhibitions. These include the Irish Exhibition of Living Art (IELA), an annual exhibition of Irish modernist developments initiated by Mainie Jellett; to the establishment of the Hendriks Gallery in 1957; Project Arts Centre in 1967 and other significant events. Archive material related to the shortlived but seminal Signals Gallery, London, has particular significance in any account of Optical, Kinetic and Conceptual Art developments of the 1960s. Examples of such works were introduced to Irish audiences of the day through the vision of the Hendriks Gallery and many are now in the IMMA Collection due to the philanthropy of Gordon Lambert.
Video footage from The Roland Collection, the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, Joe Lee and the RTÉ archives is available to view.
IMMA Talks & Public Programmes
Curators Lunchtime Talk Series: Drop In, Meeting Point, Main Reception
Friday 17 November, 1.15-2pm
Join Johanne Mullan, Programmer Collections, IMMA, for an insightful walkthrough of Coast-Lines.
A Conversation with Julie Martin: The History of E.A.T
Saturday 9 December 2017, 1pm, Lecture Room
Julie Martin co-founder of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) discusses the history of the E.AT, a collaborative group of engineers and artists including Robert Rauschenberg and Jean Tinguely. This talk looks in details at the E.A.T seminal New York art project ‘9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering’, that resulted in ground-breaking conceptual artworks comprising performance, dance, theatre and music. Programmed is in collaboration with O.M.G, Connect.
A full programme of talk and events runs alongside the exhibition for further details visit www.imma.ie