In conclusion of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project, we are delighted to present Soul Outsider a new piece of music composed by renowned London-based, Northern Irish composer Deirdre Gribbin and performed by Crash Ensemble.
Entitled Soul Outsider, Gribbin has focused on Lucian Freud’s female portraits reflecting on relationships between sitter and artist and the inner self laid bare. Her interpretation is spun through an interwoven narrative: ‘Night Painting’, ‘Human Animal’ and ‘Under Eyes’ featuring Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s most respected and internationally recognized new music ensemble. IMMA is grateful to the Arts Council for enabling this work through an Arts Council Commission Fund.
The IMMA Collection: Freud Project in IMMA’s Garden Galleries, marks a major five-year initiative for IMMA. Fifty-two works by Lucian Freud have been lent to the Museum’s Collection until 2021.
This is the first time that IMMA has dedicated a series of galleries to the long-term display of works by a single artist. In creating the dedicated Freud Centre in IMMA’s Garden Galleries we have created a space for looking, thinking, and learning, with programmes that provoke new reflection on Freud’s work and what it means in the contemporary world.
Throughout the five-year period exhibitions, artists’ commissions, curated talks and events, learning programmes and research partnerships have revealed new perspectives on Lucian Freud as a painter and also as an excavator of the human condition and the inner self.
Lucian Freud said of his own work “What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce and convince”. I am interested in how we, as individuals, adopt personas and hide behind these for others to perceive us as we would wish to be seen. Often mental instabilities, anxieties and despair are hidden from view. ‘Soul Outsider’ refers to the inner self that is exposed so perfectly in the work of Lucian Freud through his often, brutal observations of his subjects.
Having a child with Down Syndrome, I am constantly aware of the perception of the outsider or the one who is displaced in society. This comes from perceptions of how he is seen. Lucien Freud was subject to a different kind of displacement. His family were forced to leave Germany before the emergence of the Nazis. His displacement was internalised but undoubtedly affected his life as artist and documenter of the human soul. This is evident in Freud’s close observations of the narratives explored in the faces he paints. It enabled him to reveal his subjects often in disturbing honesty. In the words of artist Tracy Emin, Freud is “…making us look at what we don’t want to look at…”.
In this quartet I have explored an intimate musical response to the reality of a glance, a look, a revelatory gesture or intense emotion, through dialogues between electric guitar, clarinet, percussion and cello. The work depends on shaping and transforming inflections of line intrinsic to the human form. Through the music, the inanimate sitter becomes animate.
Deirdre Gribbin 2021.
Deirdre Gribbin is an award-winning composer from Northern Ireland whose work has been described as “astonishingly accomplished” and “pure magic” (The Times) and “a charismatic voice in new music” (The Guardian). Her music often explores the impact of having grown up through Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Her orchestral work ‘Unity of Being’ opened the ‘UK with NY’ Festival in New York City after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and she was the subject of major feature in the New York Times. Deirdre is interested in advocating for greater diversity in programming and opportunities for those traditionally excluded from the study of and creative engagement with music composition.
Ethan Stein is the son of composer Deirdre Gribbin and theatre director Lou Stein. Now 15 years of age, Ethan is already challenging the perceived limit s of achievement of those with Down Syndrome. He has been a member of the inclusive theatre company, Chickenshed, since he was six, appearing in many of their product ions, including singing at Wembley Arena with Tom Jones in front of 16,000 people when he was nine years old. Ethan’s poem “Grieving Elephants” was set to music by Deirdre and featured as part of BBC Radio 3’s “Seven Ages of Women” concert celebrating International Women’s Day 2020. His poem about climate change “The Last Ice” was featured on RTE’s ‘Arena’ programme.
Crash Ensemble is Ireland’s leading new music ensemble; a group of world-class musicians who play the most adventurous, ground-breaking music of today. Founded in 1997 by composer Donnacha Dennehy , some of the most distinctive living composers have written for the group, including Terry Riley , David Lang, Michael Gordon, Louis And riessen, Arnold Dreyblatt, Kevin Volans, Glenn Branca, Nico Muhly and Gerald Barry. Many well-known artists from diverse musical backgrounds have performed with the ensemble; Gavin Friday, Dawn Upshaw, Lisa Hannigan , larla O L ionaird (The Gloaming) , Bryce Dessner (The National), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Sam Amidon and Beth Orton. Crash have recordings on NMC, Cant aloupe, Nonesuch and the Bedroom Community labels and have their own label, Crash Records. As well as performing throughout Ireland, Crash regularly performs internationally. Crash Ensemble are adventurous, innovative and ambitious.