Irish Museum of Modern Art

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National Drawing Day 2015 at IMMA

IMMA participated in National Drawing Day on 16 May 2015 with a free, all-ages drawing workshop. Helen O’Donoghue, Senior Curator and Head of Education and Community Programmes brings us a reflection on the event.

National Drawing Day

In 1983, the artist Rob Smith (whose work is in the IMMA Collection) said of drawing that it is

‘a way of relating oneself to the world. A cross-over of internal to external…Finding a place in which to sit in the jungle of contemporary living.’

On Saturday 16 May 2015, IMMA was abuzz with people of all ages who were enthusiastically participating in a collaborative drawing as part of the National Drawing Day, an event which ran across 25 venues in Ireland. The invitation was to explore our primal need to draw and to engage with artwork, using our current IMMA Collection exhibition Fragments as a starting point.

Each individual was given a hexagonal shaped piece of drawing paper and a range of pencils from soft to hard. They were then sent to explore IMMA’s galleries and grounds to find something that interested them and then make a drawing. The interpretation of drawing was very open from mark-making to illustration, with every mark authentic to the person who made it.

On completion, each individual was invited to add his or her hexagon to the collaborative wall drawing – a growing wall of shapes in a public space off the reception area. This cell-like structure was reminiscent of large honeycomb as more than 250 individual drawings were unified into one major group expression. The workshop which ran all day was conceived of and facilitated by two of IMMA’s gallery staff, Olive Barrett and Barry Kehoe.

Barry and Olive’s reflection on the day
It was a pleasure to experience the enthusiasm of the general public with regard to the current exhibition programme and Drawing Day. All age groups and many different nationalities engaged with the workshop and were reluctant to leave at the close of the day. Fascinating conversations both before and after the gallery visit occurred by the collective drawing. Visitors were enquiring if they could revisit the drawing at a later date and a teacher said he would bring the idea into his classroom!

This event captured the imagination of so many visitors who were visiting IMMA for the first time and engaged them creatively in looking at and responding to artwork for a longer duration than they might on another visit to a gallery space, experiencing what Rob Smith describes as ‘…finding a place in which to sit in the jungle of contemporary living.’

For people who might wish to explore drawing in IMMA’s Collection in more depth, we have produced a booklet titled What is Drawing…? that will soon be available online here as well as in our bookshop.

IMMA, through its Education and Community programmes, has a number of initiatives that support people to access artworks on exhibition and participation in art making. For further details please see our website. Photos by Fiona Morgan. 

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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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