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2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Rosc exhibition in Ireland. These pivotal, and often controversial, exhibitions were the first major series of large scale international art exhibitions in Ireland, at a time when Ireland did not have a National Museum of Contemporary Art. Rosc took place approximately every four years between 1967 and 1988, with IMMA being founded in 1991.

For many visitors, Rosc was the first time they would have been introduced to work by international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, Laurie Anderson among others. Indeed, from 1967 the Department of Education enabled all schools to take a day out of school to visit the Rosc exhibitions, a visionary policy which had a significant impact on future generations of artists and arts audiences.

There were several landmark moments across the exhibitions including the first performance of Rest Energy by Marina Abramovic and Ulay in Rosc ’80, which involved Ulay holding a steel arrow pointed directly at Abramovic’s heart for four minutes.

But there were also many controversies associated with Rosc during its 21 years, such as the movement of ancient monuments for the 1967 Rosc, the exclusion of Irish artists from the first two Rosc exhibitions and the ongoing debate about the representation of Irish art and artists in Rosc, not to mention the under representation of female artists.

ROSC 50 is presented in collaboration with NIVAL (the National Irish Visual Art Library) and the opening display at IMMA provides an intriguing, detailed, and contextualised look at these controversial and pivotal Exhibitions. Visitors can engage with the history of Rosc through a rich presentation of archive materials including catalogues, photographs, news footage, and exhibition reviews and reports, alongside first-person accounts.  Visitors are encouraged to consider Rosc’s intentions, impact and legacy.

Where you there? Visitors are also encouraged to share their experiences and memories of Rosc both in person and online throughout 2017.

The public are encouraged to share their memories of Rosc by discussing their personal experiences or memories of the exhibitions both online and offline. This process of capturing the audience’s reaction to Rosc will then re-enter the archive, adding the audiences’ voice to this rich archive for future generations.  Visitors are called to contribute to this initiative online by using the hashtag #ROSC50 on social media or by submitting personal stories, testimonials and photographs to [email protected].

Associated Events

IMMA/NIVAL : ROSC 50 – 1967 / 2017 Opening Talk / 05 May 2017 – 1pm
Join Sean Kissane (Curator Exhibitions, IMMA) for an opening introduction of ROSC 50 – 1967 / 2017, a research project presented in IMMA’s Project Spaces from 05 May – 18 June 2017. Listen back to this talk.

IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 – 1967 / 2017: Lunchtime Talk / 17 May 2017 – 1:15pm
Art historian, writer and appointed researcher of the IMMA/NIVAL: ROSC 50 – 1967 / 2017 project, Brenda Moore-McCann shares artists’ testimonies on the various ways ROSC supported some of the most iconic artworks made at the time by Brian O’Doherty, Marina Abramovic and others. Listen back to this talk.

IMMA/NIVAL : ROSC 50 – 1967 / 2017 Artists’ Discussion / 31 May 2017 – 6:30pm
Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Rosc, IMMA invites artists to come together in conversation to reflect on the direct experiences of a particular generation of artists associated with the Rosc exhibitions. Listen back to this talk.

IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 / 1967-2017: Closing Discussion / 28 June 2017 – 3:00pm
On the final week of the IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 | 1967-2017 in the Project Spaces, you are invited to join us for a series of reflections on the Rosc exhibitions and their impact on the visual arts in Ireland. Speakers include Patrick J. Murphy, former Chairman of Rosc; Matt Packer, Director of EVA International; Jonathan Carroll, writer and independent curator; and Sarah Glennie, Director of IMMA. Drop In.

IMMA/NIVAL SEMINAR: ROSC 50 Artist Research Commissions / Sat 11 Nov, 2pm – 5pm
An important part of the IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 collaboration is to generate new research and new perspectives from both artists and audiences today, and to record these for future generations. Audiences are invited to attend a seminar comprising of artists’ performance, lecture presentations, screening and a panel discussion. Learn more.

Comissioned Artists

An important part of ROSC 50 is to uncover new research and new perspectives from both artists and audiences today, and to record these for future generations.  Audiences are being invited to submit their testimonials of their experiences of Rosc, which will in turn be folded back into the NIVAL archive, while artists Amanda Coogan, Emma Haugh and a collaborative project comprising Christodoulos Makris, Nathan O’Donnell and Suzanne Walsh have been selected from an invited call to undertake research projects in response to Rosc. Each will take as a starting point the material relating to Rosc in the NIVAL archive, and take into account of themes relating to the ambition, memory and legacy of Rosc and also the critical and public engagement with the exhibitions.

The period of research is from July to December 2017 and will be informed by the ongoing ROSC 50 programme, including the current presentation of archival material relating to Rosc in IMMA’s Project Spaces, open until July 31st.

ROSC50 Research Commissions

Amanda Coogan is proposing to research the live performances in Rosc ’80 with a view to appropriating and folding these live, unstable works into a newly imagined performance work. Rosc ’80 was the first Rosc to include performance and live art, and 14 artists, including Ulay and Marina Abramoviæ, Marta Minujin, Tim Hennessy, Laurie Anderson, Nam June Pai and Nigel Rolfe, were invited to create site specific of live performance works in Dublin.

Coogan has said about the project: ‘I claim this research strategy as one that is open to the possibility of performance itself – that is to say performance works that are in a constant state of becoming.’

Emma Haugh is proposing to develop Reading Troup #11  ‘the relations of power involved in enunciation and reception’ (Teresa de Lauretis) reading the Rosc archive via a queer-feminist, post-colonial critique of minimalism and post modernism. The Reading Troup is a continuing and ever-developing practice of performative and theatrical reading techniques. Incorporating improvisation, collage, fortune telling, psychogeography and collective cut-ups.

Haugh comments “What is most intriguing about archives is what isn’t there. Those collected fragments that can be found within the archive tell (if looked at from a certain perspective) of that which is missing. Documents from the Rosc archive tell much about Irish art historical struggles around national identity, status, ambition and representation. I propose to consider the ambition and legacy of Rosc through performative cross-readings with critical texts and other research materials as a means of speaking back to and with the archive in order to appear that which is not immediately present.”

Christodoulos Makris, Nathan O’Donnell and Suzanne Walsh are proposing, Inflammatory Speech;: a research programme and subsequent performative event in response to Rosc. It is devised as a collaboration between three practitioners working at the intersections of contemporary art, poetry, and writing. Inverting Rosc’s subtitle – ‘the poetry of vision’ – they propose an alternative ‘vision of poetry.’
They will create a repository of material from the Rosc archive from which they will shape several original poetic texts for performance. This may take the form of a multivocal or polyphonic performance; a sort of choral call-and-response with poetic texts and music overlaid to create a meshwork of sound.

In their submission the collaborators stated: “Responses to Rosc were (and are) marked by hostility, bafflement, defensiveness; languages of resistance but also of territorialism and the fear of the unknown, the troubling, the provocative … It is to this context, rather than the content, of Rosc that we wish to respond, creating work that explores and amplifies the exhibitions’ reception, rather than the exhibitions themselves per se.”

Additional Resources 


Additional Resources

ROSC 50 Playlist Soundcloud