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 26 January – 18 April 2010

This is an experimental exhibition which attempts to addresses the question of what happens when artworks become part of a collection and are subsequently shown in many different contexts. Working from a potential list of works, the artworks are being changed regularly during the course of the exhibition, with removal of artworks generating absences which call to mind gaps in our memory and point to the partially hidden nature of Museum collections. Works are also being added to the space, and this draws out new and sometimes unexpected associations, as new narratives emerge within the overall structure of the exhibition. Other strategies such as repositioning works within the exhibition are being used to alter the pace of the exhibition.

   Installation shot of What happens next is a secret, (left – right), Paul Nugent, Cardinal 6, Russell Hart and Karl Burke, Compositions 1-36, William Hogarth, Time Smoking a PictureInstallation shot of What happens next is a secret, (left -right) Tine Melzer, Please don’t tell anyone, and It lies beyond this door, both 2009Installation shot of What happens next is a secret, (left- right) Oliver Comerford, Out Here III, Brian O’Doherty, In the Wake (of), Kathy Prendergast, Lost, Jack Butler Yeats, The Folded Heart, Peter Sedgley, Light Rhythms, (foreground) F.E. McWilliam, Girl Waiting

In tandem a publication is being produced during the exhibition, with the printing happening in multiple stages over time resulting in chance over-printing. This forms a parallel to the layering of meanings generated between artworks in the gallery. The second Edition was recently printed directly on top of the first Edition, and is now available for a limited time in the gallery space. Each edition of the publication is a hand-numbered limited print run of 480. IMMA hopes that the exhibition will, through its ever-changing nature and methodologies, address the audience’s role as witness and indeed point to the fundamental inability to witness an exhibition.

To coincide with the exhibition IMMA has commissioned a new sound piece by economicthoughprojects, an independent record label set up by Irish-based artist Russell Hart to investigate collaborative and multi-disciplinary practice. Hart worked with artist Karl Burke to produce a new work in response to the exhibition – sounds from the gallery space have been manipulated by the artists, and the resulting Compositions 1-36 are played back in the gallery space on an ongoing loop through four mobile sculptures. German artist Tine Melzer also made new work in the context of the exhibition. Melzer worked with a hidden space which was discovered behind a false wall in the gallery. Continuing IMMA’s well established Limited Edition series Ilya + Emilia Kabakov have produced a limited edition print, The Ghosts in the Morning, in response to the themes of secrecy and invisibility addressed in this exhibition.

While the exhibition mainly includes works from the IMMA Collection, a small number of works are borrowed either directly from artists or from other collections, such as Lawrence Weiner’s statement 021, 1968, from the collection of Seth Siegelaub. The work exists as an idea, a statement which calls for the removal of part of the gallery wall – this idea is held in a private collection; nothing is transported, nothing insured, nothing stored. The work appears in Edition two of the publication, and may be installed in the exhibition at a later stage. Siegelaub was one of the first collectors or curators to collect and show conceptual practices and was arguably one of the most influential independent curators active during the 1960’s and ‘70s; a period when fundamental questions about the role of institutions, the artist, the public, and of art itself were being addressed.

Also on loan is, The Museum Minus the Collection, a work made by the artists Frantiska + Tim Gilman while they were on IMMA’s ARP in 2005. The work comprises of an IMMA Collection catalogue cut up so that images of the artworks have been removed from the pages creating an intricate lattice effect. The artists have written that “the holes in our memory define our minds, as windows help define a structure”. The negative spaces created by the absent, removed works create a new structure within the book – each removal acting like a window framing further absences. The negative spaces containing in turn another negative, an inverted mise en abyme; an absence, within an absence, within an absence.

Donald Urquhart’s outdoor work Recurring Line is a work from the IMMA Collection which is absent from view for most of the year. It is a site-specific work located in the meadow of the Royal Hospital site that comprises a drawing in the landscape made using Galanthus Nivalis (snowdrops). Urquhart recently made a temporary wall painting in the exhibition space relating to Recurring Line.

Images from the closing event for What happens next is a secret on Sunday 18 April 2010

The Domestic Godless – Irene Murphy, Mick O’Shea, Stephen Brandes, Photo: Matthew Thompson Photography, courtesy the artists, © IMMA 2010Mick O’Shea of The Domestic Godless prepares chili chocolate chicken hearts, Photo: Matthew Thompson Photography, courtesy the artists, © IMMA 2010

Russell Hart + Karl Burke, conversation + performance of their invited intervention Compositions 1-36, 2010, Photo: Matthew Thompson Photography, courtesy the artists, © IMMA 2010Peter O’Kennedy, Merce Merce Cunningham Cunningham John John Cage Cage, 2009, courtesy the artist, Photo: Matthew Thompson Photography, courtesy the artists, © IMMA 2010

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Artist Hannah Breslin recently made a site specific piece at IMMA titled Please accept my apologies, 2010. The work is part of What happens next is a secret and > arrow link” hspace=”0″ src=”/en/siteimages/arrow2.gif” align=”baseline” border=”0″ />Invisible</a>, an exhibition presented by Black Church Print Studio. </p>

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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.