IMMA Screen is an online screening series showcasing film and video works from the IMMA Collection. New screenings will be available monthly, presenting works by Irish and international artists alongside a new interview and related material from the IMMA Archive.
IMMA Screen is an online screening series showcasing film and videos from the IMMA Collection. New screenings will be available monthly, presenting works by Irish and international artists alongside a new interview and related material from the IMMA Archive. Each work will be accessible online for one month.
Artists’ moving image works have featured extensively in IMMA’s programming history since 1991 and form a key part of the Collection. Recently, many of these works have been digitised from analogue formats such as VHS tape and Laserdisc as part of a large-scale Collection & Programme Digitisation Project funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht. This process preserves the works for the future while also allowing greater access to audiences and researchers. IMMA Screen highlights the Museum’s holdings of moving image work as a significant national collection of artists’ film and video.
We are delighted to present Isabel Nolan’s two video works as the fourth instalment of IMMA Screen. While Sloganeering 1-4 (2001) has been part of the IMMA Collection since 2002, The Condition of Emptiness (2007), was acquired more recently as part of a major donation of the Kerlin Gallery Collection to the museum in 2018.
In addition to the two videos, a recently recorded interview between Isabel Nolan and Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections, IMMA, is also available further down this page.
Alongside this, a series of recordings relating to Nolan’s work from the IMMA Audio Archive are available in the ‘Additional Resources’ section. These include the audio work titled The Three Body Problem (2014), a conversation between Nolan and writer Sally O’Reilly and an introduction by curator Karen Sweeney to Isabel’s 2014 solo exhibition at IMMA, titled The weakened eye of day.
About the works:
Sloganeering 1-4 formed part of Isabel Nolan’s installation Once Upon a Time and How Things Turn Out at IMMA in 2002. Like her other work, it explores notions of reality and identity often in a humorous manner. In Sloganeering 1-4, the power of the written word to impose a reality as tangible as so-called ‘real life’ is explored.
The artist states that she wanted to “create a character who is trying, somewhat desperately to communicate a sense of their identity (someone who is obviously frustrated, confused and inconsistent, but is nevertheless attempting to be sincere). In one sense, it is about the idea that identity is complex and irreducible to clichés; it also reflects the fact that we live in a culture where communication is often reduced to sound bites that are often both pretentious and vacuous”.
This concept is expressed through the use of a white T-shirt on which the artist repeatedly scribbles slogans, which are in turn underlined, added to and ultimately cast away as she takes off the shirt to start writing on a fresh one worn underneath.
The Condition of Emptiness is a slow-moving, silent animation that tells the story of someone who has retreated into themselves, shunning language in any form, but needing to re-establish contact. The narrative unfolds through a series of text messages sent to an unidentified other.
The work explores the line between the desire for self-seclusion and its associated anxieties. Identity and communication are central themes in both videos. While Sloganeering 1-4 engages with the publicity of identity, in The Condition of Emptiness the question seems to be about what happens to your sense of identity once you retreat into isolation.
 Statement from the artist, 2003, IMMA
Irish artist Isabel Nolan (born 1974) attended the National College of Art and Design and the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology. She works in sculpture, painting, textiles and text and explores notions of reality and identity, and the human compulsion to understand and define our situations and relationships with others. Nolan has exhibited in Ireland and internationally since the late 1990s, including solo exhibitions at The Model, Sligo, in 2011 and the Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint Etienne Métropole in 2012.
The first programme for IMMA Screen presents works by six artists over six months. Including Helen Cammock, Phil Collins, Vivienne Dick, Kevin Gaffney, Isabel Nolan and Alanna O’Kelly.
In different ways, these works engage with performance and the role of the camera in the construction and mediation of identity. From Isabel Nolan’s humourous explorations of performed identity in Sloganeering 1-4 (2001), to Phil Collins’ confronting insight into the depiction of war victims by journalists in How to Make a Refugee (2000). In thinking about the psychological implications of newly imposed physical distancing between ourselves and others, the programme invites a timely reflection on the power and politics of representation and the continuous fabrications of the self and the other. A number of these works, including Sanctuary/Wastelands (1994) by Alanna O’Kelly, also deal poignantly with ideas of loss and erasure.
Please note this is archive content and may not display optimally.
Welcome to IMMA. Our website may not work correctly in your browser. We only support IE 10+ (PC only), Chrome 60+, Firefox 55+, Safari (9+ Mac / 5+ PC).