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IMMA has invited internationally renowned artist Dorothy Cross to select an exhibition of work from the Collections of IMMA, Crawford Art Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. The resulting exhibition; Trove, will showcase the extraordinary depth of the National Collections in one unique and very subjective presentation. This is the first time that the National Collections have worked together in this way; presenting a combination of objects and artworks as one single exhibition. Thus Trove represents a unique opportunity for people to see works from both our art and object based National Collections together for the first time, presenting these works in a new and fascinating light. By the inclusion of works rarely seen by the public, Trove also celebrates and rediscovers many of the hidden treasures of our National Collections, revealing much about our collective identity through the objects we have chosen to collect.

“The idea of Trove is to make new relationships between painting and object from collections that would rarely meet.” – Dorothy Cross

Cross has delved into the Collections with an approach that is very much in keeping with her own practice of uncovering and gathering objects, which then find their way into her work, often after becoming part of her living and working environment. Cross’s work explores central themes such as the relationship between nature and the body, man and the environment, and time. The very essence of National Collections is to concern themselves with these same themes; reflecting man’s changing relationship with his environment over time through the collection and conservation of works. From the reassuring heft and solidity of the Medieval Ogham stones to the delicacy of a hummingbird’s nest; the immense scale of Thomas Ruff, Portrait, 2001 (210cm x 160cm) to the quiet miniature of Robert Stewart by William Bate (3.9 x 3.2 cm); the cold fascination of a shark’s tooth or the preservation of soft cow hide Pampooties from the 1940’s; Cross’s selection includes the manmade and the natural, the functional and the decorative, the religious and the poetic.

The mere act of selection reveals hidden narratives. The earliest objects in Cross’s selection are golden beads from the Collection of the National Museum dating to the late Bronze Age (800 – 700 BC), while the most contemporary is a work by Patrick Scott, Meditation Painting 28, from 2007 which utilises his trademark gold leaf, revealing our enduring fascination with gold across centuries and civilizations.

Commenting on the selection process Dorothy Cross said;

“The invitation to search through the collections of the museums to find things that attract and excite and to then bring these together in a show was an extraordinary offer; a chance to re/consider things that have already been considered exceptional. The idea of Trove is to make new relationships between painting and object from collections that would rarely meet. The selection will not necessarily aim for the celebrity works but also the less known items that might otherwise remain in the shadows. The excitement of pulling open a drawer in the National Museum to find a row of bronze-age pots, cupboard after cupboard of giant balls of bog butter, or viewing racks of paintings in the National Gallery, some vulnerable awaiting restoration and some famous; considering Poussin in the same breath as a pale-blue penguin egg is what Trove is about”.

IMMA is delighted to once again welcome sponsorship from BNP Paribas which has a long history of art patronage, both in Ireland and internationally. Previous sponsors of The Moderns at IMMA, Gilles de Decker, Country Head for BNP Paribas in Ireland, said “BNP Paribas is delighted to partner with IMMA for yet another ‘first’. This unique gathering of the Nations institutions in Trove resonates for BNP Paribas’ Group representation in Ireland. The Trove exhibition is an extraordinary collection of artwork and objects that showcase Irish culture and heritage.”

To coincide with the exhibition at IMMA, Eyemaker by Dorothy Cross will be shown at the National Gallery of Ireland  from 03 December 2014 to 08 March 2015.

Trove is presented as a partnership between IMMA, Crawford Art Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. IMMA is grateful to The Department of Arts, Heritage and the GaelteachtIrish Traditional Music Archive, Athlone Castle Visitor Centre, Athlone Arts and Tourism Ltd, the Old Athlone Society and Westmeath County Council for their support of the exhibition, and in particular to our National Collection colleagues for their commitment to this unique project.

About the Artist

Dorothy Cross b.1956

Working in sculpture, film and photography, Dorothy Cross examines the relationship between living beings and the natural world. A sense of place pervades her practice. Living in Connemara, a rural area on Ireland’s wild west coast, the artist sees the body and nature as sites of constant change, creation and destruction, new and old.
View Artist

Talks and Events

Lunchtime Gallery Talk| Johanne Mullan
Fri 12 Dec 2014, 1.15 – 2pm, Garden Galleries
Johanne Mullan (National Programmer, IMMA) introduces the exhibition Trove at IMMA and the various narratives that tie this interdisciplinary presentation of contemporary artworks and objects together. Audio coming soon.
Roundtable Discussion | Collecting for the Public
Wednesday 28 January 2015, 6.30–7.30pm
This discussion addressed the key factors that determine the objects we choose to collect for our national collections in relation to the exhibition Trove. This discussion was chaired by Catriona Crowe (Senior Archivist, Special Projects National Archives of Ireland). Panelists included Christina Kennedy (IMMA), Nigel Monaghan (National History Museum) Anne Hodge (National Gallery, Dublin) Clodagh Doyle (NMI – Country Life) and Nessa O’Connor (National Museum Ireland). Listen back to this talk here

A Conversation with Dorothy Cross + Lisa Le Feuvre | The Artist as Curator
Saturday 28  February 2015,  2-3pm,  The Johnston Suite, IMMA, Free
Dorothy Cross and Lisa Le Feuvre (Head of Sculptor, Henry Moore, Insitute, UK) discusses how artist-curated exhibitions open up new ways we can look and think about art. Listen back to this talk here

Talks on Ireland’s National Collections
Trove exhibition partners invite you to explore the treasures of their collections with their in house specialist team of curators and conservators through a series of talks and tours taking place across the partner institutions during the exhibition period. Please click here for a full list of these free talks taking place at the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland.


Second Level Resources for Teachers and Students

These resources are in three parts and have been prepared to provide supplementary information for Second level students and their teachers visiting the exhibition.. They may also be of interest to the general public as an introduction to Trove.

Part 1: Visiting an Exhibition (PDF – 450KB)
Includes general information about visiting a museum or gallery and information about IMMA 
in particular.
Part 2: Trove Resources for second level students and teachers (PDF 6MB)
Part 3: Trove Resources for transition year students and teachers (PDF 3MB)



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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.