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Mike Kelley, Jeremy Deller, Conrad Shawcross, Kevin Atherton, Linder, Jesse Jones and Bedwyr Williams

This exhibition borrows its title from an iconic work by the influential American artist Mike Kelley Primal Architecture (1995) in which the artist uses sculptural forms to map a history of his personal genealogy.

Exploring ideas inherent in Kelley’s piece this exhibition brings together works by Irish and international artists that elaborate on notions of pseudo-autobiography, consciousness, identity, architecture, power and nostalgia. Since the sixties, contemporary art has been associated with moments or acts of crises and political change. Often these acts have not only affected art, but also mirrored what was happening within the world. This exhibition, Primal Architecture, unfurls in the form of a sequence of episodes or chapters that can be read with relative autonomy, each offering exhilarating interpretations of the human condition and the complex ways we interact and narrate the world around us.

Primal Architecture will feature artworks spanning across varied media and decades, including installation, video, sculpture, drawing, performance and photography. It includes artists – Mike Kelley, Jeremy Deller, Conrad Shawcross, Kevin Atherton, Linder, Jesse Jones and Bedwyr Williams.  For many of these artists this exhibition at IMMA will be their first presentation in Ireland.

This exhbition is accompanied by a guide, which is available at IMMA Reception, or you can click here to download a (pdf) copy.

Visitors are advised that this exhibition contains adult themes and explicit imagery.

Talks and Events

Curator’s Introduction | Primal Architecture
Séamus McCormack, Project Coordinator of Exhibitions at IMMA, gives you a brief informal overview of what to expect from the current group exhibition Primal Architecture. Listen here  

IADT ARC + IMMA Preface Lecture | John C. Welchman Mike Kelley: Lent Felt (Intimations of his Mind’s Fall), Friday 7 November 2014, 1.00–2.00pm, Lecture Room

This lecture explores the life and work of Mike Kelley—artist, noise musician, writer, actor, benefactor and teacher. Kelley’s powerful contribution to contemporary art will be examined, including the artist’s critical writings and special brand of parodic humor. John C. Welchman is Professor of art history, Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego and Chair of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Listen back to this talk here.

Artists Discussion | Primal Architecture Saturday 8 November 2014, 2.00–3.30pm, Lecture Room

Artists; Kevin Atherton, Linder, Jesse Jones, Bedwyr Williams and Conrad Shawcross discuss the exhibition Primal Architecture with Rachael Thomas (Head of Exhibitions IMMA) and discussion moderator Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith (writer, critic, and lecturer UCD). Listen back to this talk here.

Lunchtime Talk | Primal Architecture Wednesday 12 November 2014, 1.15– 2.00pm, East Wing GalleriesSéamus Mc Cormack (Project Co-ordinator: Exhibitions, IMMA) leads a gallery talk on the exhibition Primal Architecture. Audio coming soon.

IADT ARC + IMMA Lecture | Sinead Hogan Revisiting critique, revising fetish Thursday 22 January 2015, 6.00–7.00pm, Lecture Room

Dr Sinead Hogan (Lecturer, IADT) addresses how critique is intimately related to decision making and quality of judgement. This lecture will focus on how the notion of critique and how this can be approached through the object of the fetish. Listen back to this talk here.

Lecture | David McConnell What is primal? What does science say? Wednesday 4 February 2015, 6.30– 7.30pm, Lecture Room

David McConnell (Professor of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin) explores primal facts of objective science in which to consider genetic impulses of artists. Listen back to this talk here

Discussion | Post Punk Reflections Wednesday 11 February 2015, 6.00– 7.00pm, Lecture Room 

This discussion reflects on the musical energy and resistance of punk culture and its broader impact on the changing cultural and political conditions of 1970s to now. Popular culture, activism and Northern Irish politics and society will be explored. Audio coming soon.


Programmed in parallel to the Primal Architecture exhibition, IMMA hosted an evening of live performance, installation, video and music by multi-disciplinary artists: Jenny Brady, Sandra Davoren, Elaine Leader, Eoghan Ryan, Smilin’ Kanker and Przem SHREM Zaj¹c. Read More on the IMMA Blog

Exhibition Catalogue

Primal Architecture will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication that ranges across multiple disciplines to include contributions from leaders in the diverse fields of New Media, Performance Art and Genetics. The publication will includes contributions from Doug Harvey (Los Angeles based writer, curator, artist, and editor of pata-critical Interrogation Techniques Anthology Volume 3); Maeve Connolly (Writer, researcher and lecturer at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dublin); Rachael Thomas (Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions, IMMA); David McConnell (Professor of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin); Séamus McCormack (Project Co-ordinator: Exhibitions).In a further exploration of the diverse themes in the exhibition, the publication will also include contributions and responses from exhibiting artists Linder and Bedwyr Williams.

The publication will be launched on Friday 12th February 2015 at ROADKILL. Read an excerpt of the catalogue online now.

IMMA Edition

Migration of Symbols, 2014, a limited edition fine art print by Linder, is now available in the IMMA Shop. Giclee printed in an edition of 100, onto Somerset 300gdm paper, with the olllaged rose printed onto 160gsm gloss paper and mounted onto surface, this is an incredible opportunity to own a piece of Linder’s work. This edition will be priced 300 when the exhbition ends, but can be purchased for the very special price of €255 for the first week of the exhibition (15% off).

Click here to see an image of this work.

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.