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James McKenna, 1933–2000

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the G.P.O.1990

‘A Funny Thing Happened on the way to The G.P.O.’ is made from a mixture of regular wood pieces fixed together to represent two figures in a tableaux that may suggest a chance encounter on the street (“on the way to the G.P.O.”) or a captured moment in an unknown narrative between two people. The G.P.O. may suggest a more historically loaded event than simply a geographic location. Reminiscent of early Cubism, facial features and limbs are simplified and movement is suggested in the dynamic between parallel lines of wood, emphasised by painted sections.

MediumPainted wood
Dimensions Unframed, 35 x 35 x 35 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 1993
Item NumberIMMA.431
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
James McKenna, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the G.P.O., 1990, Painted wood, Unframed, 35 x 35 x 35 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 1993

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

James McKenna 1933–2000

Irish artist and writer James McKenna studied at the National College of Art and Design. The work of the Italian Renaissance masters influenced McKenna throughout his career. Political events, often married with Celtic mythology, also informed his work. He was a founding member of the Independent Artists Group and the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland and exhibited with the Irish Exhibitions of Living Art. A major retrospective of his work was held at IMMA in 2007.

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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. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.