Drawing on the paradox implicit in the word ‘coastline’ – for never has a coast followed a linear course – the title of this exhibition throws a line around a 12 month programme of changing displays of artworks and archival material that will explore our sense of place, perception, representation and memory. Works by Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Anne Madden, Anita Groener, Michael Mulcahy, Donald Teskey, Tony O’Malley, Alexandra Wejchert, Bridget Riley and others variously explore pattern and line, surface, folds, enclosures, erasures, borders, terrain, the inherent coastal tensions between motion and stillness and any attempt to map what our senses perceive. Others such as Brian O’Doherty, Hamish Fulton, Tim Robinson and OMG collective variously engage photographic, linear, linguistic and coded systems to invoke a mind/body relationship.
A key work in the exhibition shown at IMMA for the first time is the monumental installation, Tabernacle (2013), an extraordinary work by Dorothy Cross in which a life-size currach forms the roof of a hut-like structure from which that opens towards a projection of her video Sea Cave (2013). Cross previously used the Currach as part of her set design for the English National Opera’s 2008 production of J.M. Synge’s haunting play ‘Riders to the Sea’, (1903) directed by Fiona Shaw.
The 1960s as a decade gets particular focus in the current exhibition. On the international art scene it was a time, much more than any other decade, that was highly energised. Each year saw a new movement surface: Pop, Op, Kinetic, Minimalism, Conceptual art amongst others. In Ireland at that time we saw the emergence of the first Rosc, in 1967, a series of six major exhibitions of international art that had a significant impact on contemporary art developments in Ireland. While Rosc ’67 was indeed a major showcase it was less about contemporary developments of the time than it was a catch-up survey of 20th century masterworks for the benefit of Irish and visiting international audiences. IMMA has been re-examining Rosc across the programme this year, and Coast-Lines provides glimpses of some concurrent moments in the art world of the 1960s and ’70s with artworks and archival holdings that draw on the Gordon Lambert and Timothy Drever/Robinson archives in the IMMA Collection. .
A number of displays will include Irish artists who were working internationally in the late ’60s and ’70s such as Brian O’Doherty, James Coleman, Noel Sheridan and Anne Madden. A key work of the period is the ground breaking Aspen 5+6 (1967), a double issue of the experimental New York magazine, assembled, curated and edited by Brian O’Doherty. Known as ‘The Minimalism Issue’ it comprises a multimedia exhibition in a box, consisting of artworks, recordings and theoretical writings and is recognised as the first conceptual exhibition that did away with the gallery space. Delivered to subscribers in a two-piece white box containing 28 items, Aspen 5+6 includes contributions by artists such as Robert Morris; Robert Rauschenberg; Mel Bochner; essays by Susan Sontag; Roland Barthes; sound recordings by Marcel Duchamp; William Borroughs; Jack McGowran’s recording of a text by Samuel Beckett; as well as music scores and DIY miniature cardboard sculptures.
Invited to respond to Aspen 5+6, the Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG) is a group of artists and non-engineering researchers based at CONNECT, Ireland’s research centre for future networks and communications based at Trinity College Dublin. Here OMG draw together two projects from 1967: Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) founded by Robert Rauschenberg and Billy Klüver and Aspen 5+6 edited by Brian O’Doherty. Aspen’s three essays become source material for parallel Twitter feeds in the work Placement as Language (2017), replacing Aspen’s original communication platform (a magazine in a box) with a contemporary one (Twitter). Two feeds are printed onto streams of paper in the gallery and are available to read online. @aspen_ordered – Divides the three essays into Twitter-sized 140 character chunks, transmitting them one by one into the world. @aspen_reordered – Employs an algorithm to create new variations on the original texts. These variations are generated by a statistical algorithm called a Markov Chain that generates sentences based on the probability of one word following another in the original text. Read the full programme for the OMG installation.
OMG’s multi-faceted project will include a talk by E.A.T. Director Julie Martin on the history of the organisation, an ‘unboxing’ of Aspen 5+6 by Julie Martin and curator and NYU Professor Melissa Rachieff in December – a video documenting their experience will be available to see in the gallery from January, and a special series of talks and workshops introducing the work of Aspen 5+6 and E.A.T to maths teachers will take place in 2018.
A timeline within the exhibition spanning the 1940s to the 1970s contextualises the pre and post Rosc art scene in Ireland, highlighting key moments and exhibitions. Video footage from The Roland Collection, the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, Joe Lee and the RTÉ archives is also available to view.
Margaret Benyon, Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Gerard Dillon, Brian Eno, T.P. Flanagan, Lucian Freud, Gerda Frömel, Hamish Fulton, Helena Gorey, Anita Groener, Paul Henry, Patrick Heron, John Hinde, John Hoyland, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Julio Le Parc, Anne Madden, Nick Miller, Sean McSweeney, Michael Mulcahy, Brian O’Doherty, Tony O’Malley, Betty Parsons, Bridget Riley, Tim Robinson, Peter Sedgley, Noel Sheridan, Jesús-Rafael Soto, John Millington Synge, Donald Teskey, Victor Vasarely, Alexandra Wejchert and Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG) at CONNECT.
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