The IMMA Collection is a unique resource which is made available to the public through a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions and projects. Collection Exhibitions may explore the work of an individual artist, or address a theme or historic period.
The exhibition Ghosts From the Recent Past explores how urgencies of the recent past continue to inhabit the present. Framed by key political events over the past 30 years, both in Ireland and further afield, it focuses on artworks from the IMMA Collection from the 1980s to the present day. These works tell stories of colonisation and contested borders, of human relationships to the environment, of radical self-representation in the face of patriarchal systems and of love. In thinking about the interconnectedness between these subjects, a simple but burning question arises – how can we care for a shared world?
Ghosts From the Recent Past experiments with the museum’s collection as a resource for storytelling, combining international loans and artists’ projects to construct a narrative with works from the IMMA Collection. It looks at how artworks can carry the language of resistances, waywardness, joys and subversions, which continue to resonate and agitate. The stories told through the exhibition implicate us now to look at the relationship between colonial, patriarchal, capitalist systems and environmental collapse. In so doing, they unearth an urgency to acknowledge and respect precolonial and indigenous knowledges that echo in the very walls of our buildings, the land and deep within our bodies.
The exhibition engages with the dangers raised by radical thinkers and writers such as Saidiya Hartman, about “what it means to think historically about matters still contested in the present”. These matters relate to imperial and theocratic histories, and connected to this, a self-reckoning of contemporary Irish identity and our nuanced position as both victims and perpetrators.
Featuring artworks from IMMA’s Collection together with international collections, the exhibition Ghosts From the Recent Past also debuts works from the major donation of the Kerlin Gallery Collection to the museum in 2018. This exhibition will pave the way for IMMA’s 30th anniversary in 2021 in which the IMMA Collection will take centre stage.
In 2018, IMMA received the donation of the Kerlin Gallery Collection through Section 1003 to join the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. This donation comprises sixty works by twenty-six artists including paintings, sculpture, photography, film. It is a compilation of some of the most significant developments in Irish art practice of the 1990s and early 2000s. The range of works overlaps and reflects patterns of extraordinary social, cultural and political change in Ireland while also connecting to distinctive developments in contemporary international practice of the time.
While IMMA Collection had already held certain works by many of the artists, each of whom are leading figures in Irish art of this period, the Kerlin Gallery donation enables IMMA to more comprehensively chart the careers of those artists’ practices and evidence how they have reached the stature they now occupy.
New to the IMMA Collection are works by Jim Lambie, Maureen Gallace, Mairead O’hEocha. Tal R, Norbert Schwontkowski, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tony Swain, all highly significant artists in their fields and whose work IMMA would have certainly considered acquiring were there a purchasing budget to do so.
Artists in the donation are Gerard Byrne, Phil Collins, Dorothy Cross, Willie Doherty, Mark Francis, Maureen Gallace, Liam Gillick, Siobhán Hapaska, Roger Hiorns, Callum Innes, Jaki Irvine, Jim Lambie, Elizabeth Magill, Brian Maguire, Stephen McKenna, Isabel Nolan, Mairead O’hEocha, Kathy Prendergast, Tal R, Nobert Schwontkowski, William Scott, Paul Seawright, Seán Shanahan, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tony Swain and Andrew Vickery.
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