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Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
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Hilary Heron: A Retrospective celebrates the pioneering work of modernist sculptor Hilary Heron (1923 – 1977). Hilary Heron was a Dublin born sculptor who co-represented Ireland at the 1956 Venice Biennale alongside painter Louis le Brocquy (1916 – 2012). As the first major retrospective exhibition of Heron’s work since 1964, this exhibition will seek to correct the ways that her work has been overlooked in Irish and international histories of modern sculpture. It will bring together work from national and international collections, including carvings, welding and castings. Heron was a master welder, a practice highly unusual for an Irish artist, let alone a woman in the 1950s. Her work tactfully and skilfully broaches themes of gender, relationships, deep histories and religion through impressive, varied mediums including stone, lead, steel and wood.  

The Lower Ground Galleries will contain a presentation curated by Sara Damaris Muthi titled Redux: Contemporary Irish sculptors at Venice. This display features the work of Siobhán Hapaska, Eva Rothschild, and Niamh O’Malley, all female sculptors who represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2001, 2019, and 2022 respectively. Redux, meaning revival, signals Heron’s enduring influence on contemporary Irish sculpture and her legacy in proximity to contemporary sculptural practice, making her influence visible for the first time.  

A free symposium on the work of Hilary Heron, presented in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin The Long Room Hub and FE Mc William Gallery, takes place on Thursday 23 May at TCD. This one-day gathering brings together a milieu of voices to reflect and speculate on Heron’s overlooked legacy. Speakers include Penelope Curtis, Fionna Barber, Riann Coulter, Billy Shortall, Mary Kelly, Barbara Knezevic, Niamh O’Malley, and others. Click here to book a place.

This exhibition is curated by Seán Kissane, Curator, IMMA, in collaboration with Riann Coulter, Curator, FE Mc William Gallery & Studio. The exhibition will tour to the FE Mc William Gallery & Studio, Banbridge from 15 November 2024 to 15 February 2025.  

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by IMMA, with texts by Riann Coulter, Seán Kissane, Sara Damaris Muthi, Billy Shortall, and Eva Rothschild.