Irish Museum of Modern Art

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Artist’s Voice :: Low in IMMA

In summer 2014 IMMA resident Antonia Low was invited to be part of Dating Service Oslo/Berlin, an exhibition curated by Andreas Schlaegel, at the independent exhibition space AUTOCENTER (Berlin). The show paired nearly 40 artists from both cities to work together. Soon after accepting the proposition Low discovered her selected partner had with-drawn from the exhibition, stirring up unexpected feelings of rejection.

Low decided to address three postcards to the renegade artist. Her text focuses on the alignment of some exceptional experiences she had in her initial days in Dublin creating a lonesome dark undertone in contrast to the iconic imagery of the popular tourist locations on the front of the cards. The cards were posted to the gallery and displayed in the gallery window where both sides were visible.

Low split her IMMA residency in two and we are delighted to have her back with us, since Monday 20th April 2015, to finish out her final month living and working at the Museum.



The cab passes walls made of grey stone blocks, narrow brick houses, glass facades, again grey stone walls, and finally stops in front of a high entrance. The cast-iron gate is closed. With precision I speak my name in front of an intercom that is built into the massive stonework of the portal. Slowly the gate opens, I step in. With a peculiar calmness the bars close behind my back. I sleep twelve hours in the new bed. As I awaken, the sky above is dull and grey. Through the roof hatch a security guard watches me, then turns away.


Antonia Low Post Card 2 Front Antonia Low Post Card 2 Back

My mobile phone fails to send answers to incoming messages. The internet connection stalls, the virus protection blocks the ports. My computer does not recognise the external hard disk any longer. Its internal utility programme refuses to repair the device, another programme cannot recognise any existing data. It is Friday afternoon. I leave my location and walk to a distant bus stop. A bus takes me to town. I get off at the wrong stop, I search for a shop, but realise that I forgot the PIN to my credit card. It starts to rain. I see men secretly drink gargle. Aghast I get into a cab that drives me back to the museum.


Antonia Low Post Card 3 Front Antonia Low Post Card 3 Back

At night I awaken to an ear-piercing noise. From the roof hatch I see a heavy aircraft steering towards the museum’s lawn. I step into the dark night and run towards the loud, air-beating object. It lands on the grass, its lights blinking red. Now, out of the dark, a smaller, blue blinking vehicle appears which manoeuvres towards the other creature. Doors open and men surge out of the aircraft carrying a body covered in white. They disappear inside the bright vehicle and shut the doors. The aircraft howls, its propeller whips the grass in the beam of its searchlight. It drizzles. For a long while they stand opposite each other, the machines blinking red and the blue. They converse about the small creatures that they carry along. They fuss about the meaning of their enormous existence. Much later the vehicle carefully starts to move. When it passes, I glance into the bright interior and see someone injured. Then the helicopter takes off, its searchlight bathes me in the same harsh white light. For a moment, I am set into a space as light as day, isolated from the museum ground at night. Then it releases me with a ghastly roar.

Antonia Low takes the means of expression in her art from interaction with the environment as a consciously applied instrument. Her installations make reference to spatial circumstances. Through re-evaluations, disclosures, and allocations, Low thematises their different aspects and finds new points of emphasis. She pursues the overlap of different layers of temporality and spatiality and brings the transitory substance of spaces to light.

Antonia Low was born in 1972 in Liverpool, lives and works in Berlin. She studied at the Kunstakademie Münster, and two years later was awarded the degree Master in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

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Gerda Frömel: A Retrospective and Diogo Pimentão: Disequilibrium Displacement opening April 9

Gerda Fromel and Diogo Pimentao

You are invited to a reception to mark the exhibition openings on Thursday 09 April 2015 from 6-8pm.

Gerda Frömel: A Retrospective
10 April – 5 July 2015

This is the first retrospective of the sculptor Gerda Frömel since 1976. Born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1931, Gerda Frömel moved to Ireland in 1956 and built her career here. An incredibly well-regarded artist during her lifetime, Frömel’s work was neglected after her untimely death in 1975. This exhibition of sculpture, drawing and archive materials, seeks to reinstate Frömel as a Master of Irish Modernism. Read more on our website

This exhibition will travel to F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Co. Down in August 2015.

Diogo Pimentão: Disequilibrium Displacement
10 April – 5 July 2015

This is the first presentation in Ireland by Diogo Pimentão (born Portugal 1973). His drawings blur the lines between sculpture, installation and performance using the simple materials of graphite, paper and stones. Through fixing and folding paper he opens the horizon of the drawing and its conventions to other dimensions, other processes and other tools. Read more on our website

Talks and lectures:

Gerda Frömel

Preview Lecture: Seán Kissane
Gerda Frömel – Her life and works 1955–1975
Thursday 9 April 2015, 5.30–6.15pm, Johnston Suite
Exhibition Curator Seán Kissane (IMMA) presents a lecture on his research for the first contemporary retrospective exhibition of work by Gerda Frömel and addresses how this presentation attempts to reinstate Frömel as a Master of Irish Modernism. This is followed by the exhibition preview and a drinks reception. Book here

IMMA Modern Master Series: Symposium
Gerda Frömel – Reconstructing an Artist’s Career
Friday 17 April, 11.00am–3.00pm, Lecture Room
A range of scholars, writers and enthusiasts on Frömel’s work will assess key developments of the artist’s short yet significant career. Speakers will consider what Frömel’s story can teach us about the broader history, record and practice of sculpture in Ireland. Chaired by Paula Murphy (Senior Lecturer, School of Art History, UCD). Other participants to be announced. Book here

Diogo Pimentão

Artist’s Gallery Talk – Diogo Pimentão
Friday 10 April, 1.00–2.00pm, Garden Galleries, IMMA
Diogo Pimentão demonstrates how his artworks of paper and graphite push the conventions and possibilities of drawing and sculpture. Book here

Booking is essential for all talks, all of which are free. For a full programme please visit

IMMA Exhibitions:

Please visit our website for details of the current exhibitions at IMMA, all of which are free of charge, and our upcoming exhbitions for 2015.

Gerda Frömel, River, 1970; Carrara marble in three dry-fitted elements, 56 x 30 x 10 cm; Private Collection.
Diogo Pimentão, #7 Aligned Fold, 2014; Paper and graphite, 274.5 x 31.5cm; Courtesy the Artist.

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Free Art Workshops at IMMA during the Easter Holidays

Next week the Easter holidays roll around once more and we have some great activities in store at The Irish Museum of Modern Art for children of all ages.

Young People

For teenagers we offer very participative creative experiences for 12-15 year olds and 15-18 year olds. These artist-led workshops involve looking, discussing, and making, as well as engaging with IMMA’s exhibitions and Collection programmes, and working with contemporary artists.

Concrete Poetry, Rhona Byrne workshop, Helio Oiticia exhibition, Summer 2014

Concrete Poetry, Rhona Byrne workshop, Helio Oiticia exhibition, Summer 2014

This Easter join us at IMMA for a three day hands-on workshop with artist Dorothy Smith. The workshop takes place every day; in the mornings for younger teens and afternoons for 15- 18 year olds.

Tuesday 31st March to Thursday 2nd April 2015

These artist-led workshops will primarily focus on drawing in contemporary art. They’re also a great opportunity to meet an artist, discuss ideas, and make art in the IMMA studios. Participants can also explore two-dimensional artworks in the IMMA Collection exhibition Conversations.

Younger Children

IMMA has a broad range of family programmes to engage audiences of all ages

Morn at Museum LoRes Trish Bernadette Aidan 2014-08-20 10.50.02 (640x454)

Family Workshop – Mornings at the Museum
10.00 – 11.00am  | Wed 1 & Thu 2 April and Wed 8 & Thu 9 April 
Have some creative family time during the Easter holidays. Children and grown-ups can enjoy visiting an exhibition and making artworks together in the gallery. Drop into the main IMMA reception at 10am.

Family Workshop – Explorer
Sundays 2.00 – 4.00pm  | Until 28 May  (Including Easter Sunday 5 April)
Get creative together as a family, explore artworks with IMMA staff, and enjoy a hands-on workshop in the galleries. Explorer is drop-in, fun and free.

No need to book for these family workshops, just turn up on the day

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Curator’s Voice :: Diving into the National Collections with Dorothy Cross

Golden Beads, c.900-700 BC (NMI) with Meditation Painting 28, 1997 (IMMA) by Patrick Scott Denis Mortell Photography

Golden Beads, c.900-700 BC (NMI) with Meditation Painting 28, 1997 (IMMA) by Patrick Scott
Denis Mortell Photography

As Trove comes to a close this week we asked IMMA curator Johanne Mullan to tell us a little more about how the exhibition came into being. You can also listen to a brief introduction to Trove by IMMA Director Sarah Glennie on our IMMA Soundcloud.

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Mediator’s Voice : The Art of Conversation


The experience of art takes place between the audience and the work, and each exhibition arguably manifests itself only in the presence of the visitor, the works becoming transformed by this experience. This is particularly true of current exhibition Trove, Dorothy Cross selects from the National Collections sponsored by BNP Paribas, where Dorothy presents us with a series of objects and artworks that may appear to have no immediate connection. There are no labels, no room titles, no logical connections, leaving the visitor to discover and explore, making your own personal and sometimes strange connections between works. 

IMMA, like most art galleries, has a team of mediators that you see on every visit. Hugely knowledgeable about art in general, and each exhibition in particular, the mdiators regularly give talks and tours to the public and are an invaluable support for the visitor should you wish to chat to them, and many do. Mediators are witnesses to this very transformation, and we’ve asked one of our team, Barry Kehoe, to tell us a little about his experience of this during Trove and what questions visitors raise. We quickly find that there are so many questions….

Trove ends on sunday 8 March 2015. Admission is free. Listen to a brief introduction from IMMA Director Sarah Glennie.


It may seem like a peculiar job for some, the role of a museum invigilator.  It takes a certain kind of patience to sit in a gallery space for long hours, protecting the precious art objects from the absent minded hand of a visitor that may at any moment reach out and touch that which must not be touched.  In IMMA those of us who invigilate are called Mediators, a team comprising of artists, art historians and many other varied areas of art expertise.  The expert knowledge and experience of the gallery staff is of significant importance as we are not just there to protect the artworks we also act as a bridge or conduit to mediate between the art works and the visitors.

The Mediators facilitate talks, tours and workshops for the education programmes engaging with visitors from knee high to 90 and upwards. On occasion there are opportunities to work on exhibitions as they are being formulated and installed but more often than not we only get to see the exhibition a day or two before it opens to the public. So as we sit silently in a corner, the mediator, though at some level an informed expert, is also in many ways a visitor to the exhibition.  When an exhibition like Trove opens the mediators are as much a part of the exhibition as the objects, artefacts and artworks that have been gathered together in the gallery.  We live in the spaces along with the artworks for the duration of the exhibition and have the opportunity to contemplate the artworks, study the exhibition as a whole and observe the visitor experience first-hand, gaining many insights that only long exposure and slow viewing can achieve. This is an advantage and a luxury that most visitors to the museum cannot enjoy due to the constraints of time.

Research has shown that the average amount of time spent in front of an artwork varies from 15 to 30 seconds.  A recent article by Stephanie Rosenbloom in the New York Times titled: “The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum“, suggests one method of putting on the brakes is to take a public tour. If this is felt to be too formal there is another approach. Quite often an artwork or an exhibition demands more than just to be observed and this seems to be the case with Trove. Many visitors are prompted to spontaneously initiate conversations, expressing how they feel about a piece or to ask a question about a particular object. Simply engaging in a conversation with a mediator can often be the best way to enhance the visitor experience of the exhibition.


For example last week I found myself in deep analysis with a doctor as we puzzled over the whale skulls in the Basement Room of the Trove exhibition. We were trying to discern whether the Whale skulls from the Natural History Museum were upside down or not.  We talked about the comparative anatomy and the articulation of the vertebrae and the skull in mammalian skeletons.  Neither of us an expert in Whale biology, never the less, we were both fully committed to solving the mystery of what we were looking at.  This was a contrast to the next visitor who asked a question. A young girl of 7 or 8 had come to the exhibition with her mother.  When I warned her mother that there was a real life male nude posing in one of the adjoining rooms she decided to skip the room. However, once her daughter heard that there was something she wasn’t allowed to see she began to protest quite vocally at her mother’s imposed censorship. Very quickly it became evident there was only going to be one course of action taken.  After much protest the girl’s mother rolled her eyes and acquiesced to her daughter’s demands and they entered the room.  Shortly afterward they returned, the girl who had been very vocal was now silent with a very puzzled look on her face.  As they were leaving she turned to me and asked very directly:  “Why can we see his bum?” As I desperately searched for an appropriate answer her mother replied, shaking her head with an air of resignation and said, “There’s going to be so many questions.”


Barry Kehoe is an Independent Curator and Art Writer. He also works in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) facilitating talks, tours and workshops for the museum’s various education programmes.

He holds a BA in English and History (UCC); an MA in Drama and Theatre Studies (UCD); a higher Diploma in Arts Administration (UCD); A Certificate in Journalism (City and Guilds) ; A Certificate in Drawing and Visual Investigation (NCAD); and an MA in Visual Culture – Art in the Contemporary World (NCAD).

While also performing in the fields of Music and Fine Art Drawing Barry has written for various visual art publications including the Visual Artists Ireland – News Sheet, Art in the Contemporary World, Critical Bastards and the MART Gallery.

The featured image Reading Ulysses (2006) comes from a solo exhibition of Barry’s drawings shown in the Signal Arts Centre in Bray, Co. Wicklow in 2006.


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