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“For many years Joyce hovered over Irish Literature, in a smothering sort of way. He’s now long gone, but he’s very much part of Irish consciousness, I do feel, to this day. Even though among younger people he has been displaced by Beckett, but the music of ‘The Wake’, and the music of the language and the compound works and the associations they set off, the vectors that fly out from every page of ‘The Wake’, fascinated me as they did anyone else. So I wanted to do a piece about him in which I didn’t lie down under him, but challenged him a little bit. So I created this very complex little box, full of these four sided cubes, in something like these twenty honeycombs that they can be placed and taken out of, to read exactly each of these texts. But when you take them out and replace them randomly in the honeycomb of the box, you invent a new language, and everybody puts them in differently, and I’ve tried it with some poets etc., some people make something out of it according to their nature and desire. So it was making a new language of ‘The Wake’. So I called it ‘In the Wake of…'”*

*Brian O’Doherty speaking about the origins of ‘In the Wake Of…’

MediumWood, paper, ink
Dimensions10.5 x 28 x 4 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2006
Item NumberIMMA.1990
Image Caption
Brian O'Doherty, Patrick Ireland, In the Wake (of), 1963, Wood, paper, ink, 10.5 x 28 x 4 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2006

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

Brian O'Doherty

Brian O'Doherty b.1928

Brian O’Doherty was born in Ireland and is now based in New York. When he left Dublin in 1957, O’Doherty was a qualified medical doctor and emerging artist, and is now renowned as an artist, writer, critic, television host, filmmaker and educator.
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Patrick Ireland

Patrick Ireland 1972–2008

During the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1972, Brian O'Doherty, in a performance before 30 invited witnesses and assisted by artists Robert Ballagh and Brian King, undertook to sign his artworks Patrick Ireland 'until such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland'. After 36 years of making art as Patrick Ireland, O'Doherty reclaimed his birth name with the symbolic burial of his alter ego in the grounds of IMMA on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 May 2008.
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