Opening Hours

Full opening hours


Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Phone +353 1 6129900

View Map

Find us by

  • Admission Free

The first major retrospective of Leonora Carrington’s work in Ireland, this iconic exhibition is a timely rediscovery of this Surrealist painter and her role in the Surrealist art movement. Carrington is known for her figurative dreamscapes filled with extraordinary and complex narratives informed by her rich interest in mythology, alchemy, fairy tales and the occult. Leonora Carrington The Celtic Surrealist comprises some 50 paintings, eight sculptures, eight tapestries, and 20 works on paper from the 1940s onwards, holds a particular focus on the imagery that enchanted her as a child and on the cultural influences of Mexico. The exhibition is kindly supported by Brian Ranalow of H&K International.

The works in this exhibition will be organised thematically rather than chronologically. Metamorphosis and transformation, themes constant in the artist’s work, will draw on Carrington’s hybrid world full of the strange and slightly disconcerting figures – creatures half-human-half-horse, elongated women, people changing into birds – and will include works such as The Giantess (The Guardian of the Egg) c. 1947 and Edwardian Hunt Breakfast, 1956. Certain works refer directly to the history or folklore of Ireland while others highlight the influence of Mexican culture in her fantastic imagery. The exhibition will also feature self-portraits and portraits of friends and family which illustrate transformation and metamorphosis on an intimate level. Writing has always been a creative activity of equal importance as painting to Carrington, an area which has not been explored to any great extent in an exhibition before, the paintings will be supplemented with unpublished manuscripts and illustrations all offering a rich visual experience for the visitor.

Leonora Carrington (Lancashire 1917 – Ciudad de México 2011) was the daughter of a British father and an Irish mother from Co Westmeath. In 1936, when she was 19, she moved to London and Paris, where she became a central figure in the Surrealist movement exhibiting with André Breton, Max Ernst and others. In 1940, following the internment of her lover Max Ernst, she suffered a mental breakdown after which she escaped from Lisbon to Mexico where she lived until her death in 2011 at the age of 94. This exhibition forms part of IMMA’s programme of painting exhibitions, which has included major exhibitions by Lucian Freud, Howard Hodgkin and Francesco Clemente.

The exhibition is kindly supported by Brian Ranalow of H&K International; the American Friends of the Arts in Ireland; Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco; Noriega & Escobedo, Mexico; Roy & Mary Cullen Collection, Texas; The Irish Times and the Embassy of Mexico in Ireland.

The Celtic Surrealist is curated by IMMA Curator Seán Kissane.

Related Events

Talks and Lectures

Series 4 | Discussions on Theory
What is Psychoanalysis?
MA Art in the Contemporary World (NCAD) and IMMA
Saturday 18 January, 12noon, Lecture Room, IMMA
In collaboration with MA Art in the Contemporary World (NCAD), presenters Declan Long and Francis Halsall (Lecturers, AWC-NCAD) give an introduction on the theory of Psychoanalysis and its relationship to contemporary arts practice. This is followed by a panel discussion with selected speakers. Click here for more information and to book

Booking is essential for all talks. For free tickets and a full programme of events please click here

Additional Resources

Curator Seán Kissane discusses works by artist Leonora Carrington and their reference to politics, religion, Irish myth – Click here to watch these videos on Youtube

Press Release

Press Release – Pioneering scholar and acclaimed author Whitney Chadwick at IMMA

The Celtic Surrealist Catalogue

A beautiful hard backed fully-illustrated catalogue, published by IMMA and DAP, New York, accompanies the exhibition. It includes contributions from specialists Dawn Ades, Teresa Arcq, Giulia Ingarao, Seán Kissane, Alyce Mahon, the son of Carrington Gabriel Weisz, and an interview between the artist and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Price 45.00 euro, click here for more details and to buy online.


This exhibition is proudly supported by

The Irish Times logo