Irish Museum of Modern Art

Valerio Adami, Beauty Parlor, 1970.

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Curators Blogs: Christina Kennedy on David Hendriks

Currently on view from the IMMA Collection is an exhibition of works that not only shows particular artists’ practice at a given time but also consciously draws attention to a key figure in the story of cultural production in Ireland, in this case David Hendriks and his renowned gallery.  First called the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery (as a tribute to his Hendriks’ grandmother) it was later renamed David Hendriks Gallery.

Originally from Jamaica, Hendriks came to Ireland via London to study economics at TCD.  Encouraged by friends including Cecil King and Patrick Hennessy he opened his gallery in 1956 first at 3, St Stephen’s Green and from the early 1960s at No. 119 which he ran until his death in 1983.  The early years of the Hendriks Gallery coincided with the extreme recession of the 1950s when there were very few opportunities for artists to have their work seen or less still bought.  Leo Smith was the only other gallerist who had recently opened the Dawson Gallery. Victor Waddington was in the process of moving his gallery to London. Along with some private income Hendriks set up a framing business to help subsidize the gallery’s activities.

From the beginning he showed a variety of artists as well as exhibitions of prints by Picasso and Matisse. His initial list of Irish artists included Patrick Collins, T.P.Flanagan, Patrick Pye, Cecil King, Arthur Armstrong, Colin Middleton,George Campbell and Barrie Cooke;   in the late 60’s he added Deborah Brown, Sonja Landweer and Frank Morris.  In 1963 he supported the Independent Artists Group with an exhibition New Works by Five Artists which showed Brian Bourke, Michael Kane, John Kelly, David O’Docherty and James McKenna.


Jesus Rafael Soto, Curvas Inmaterilaes,  1966.

Jesus Rafael Soto, Curvas Inmaterilaes, 1966.

Having moved to 119 St Stephen’s Green, from the mid 1960s Hendriks began regular shows of international contemporary art. His inaugural Kinetic Art exhibition in 1966 was a museum-style show curated by Fr Cyril Barrett, SJ, followed in 1967 by an exhibition of Op Art also curated by Barrett.  Barrett provided the introduction for Hendriks’ long term link with the  Denise René Gallery, Paris.  Denise René was a champion of post-war abstraction and introduced several canonical movements of post-war art to the public, notably Kinetic and Op Art whose chief exponents were Paris-based South Americans artists such as Carlos Cruz-Diez,  Jesús Raphael Soto and Julio Le Parc as well as major European figures such as Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Piet Mondrian, Victor Vasarely, François Morellet and others.  Through René Hendriks introduced many of these artists to Irish audiences. A number of Hendriks’ shows were very influential on Irish artists at the time and may be can be seen to have diversified the American-weighted Pop Art and Minimalism vanguard as represented in ROSC ’67 and ’71 in favour of more experimental and experiential Latin American developments.

With improving economic conditions from the mid 1960s and the emergence of an Irish corporate sector there was interest in larger artworks to complement the minimalist lines and unadorned surfaces of the steel, glass and concrete ‘Mies van der Rohe inspired’ buildings designed by leading architects Ronnie Tallon and Robin Walker of Scott Tallon Walker. In the early 1970’s Hendriks took on new generation of young artists such as Robert Ballagh, Adriaan van der Grijn and Roy Johnston who worked on a  large scale, in a hard-edged style.


Valerio Adami, Beauty Parlor, 1970.

Valerio Adami, Beauty Parlor, 1970.

From the early ‘70s Hendriks showed aspects of New Italian Art including Pop Art paintings by Valerio Adami and collages by Enrico Baj and presented the first Arte Povera exhibition seen in Ireland.  Germano Celant, the Milanese art critic and impresario who coined the term ‘Arte Povera’ in 1967,  and was involved in the show,  came to Dublin to give a lecture.   Also at that time Hendriks began to show James Coleman and Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland.

Work from IMMA's current Collection series in the museums West Wing.

Work from IMMA’s current exhibition, Collection: Conversations.

Introduced by Cecil King to collecting, and also to Hendriks himself, it was through the Hendriks Gallery that Gordon Lambert acquired his important collection of Kinetic and Op works,  international prints and multiples and many works by Irish artists that have ultimately come into the IMMA collection.

Work from IMMA's current Collection series in the museums West Wing.

Work from IMMA’s current exhibition, IMMA Collection: Conversation.

As well as a tribute to David Hendriks, the presentation of this distinctive group of South American and European artists in IMMA Collection: Conversations will also  coincide with Propositions,  the exciting exhibition of Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica.  A  group of works from the IMMA Collection by artists including Cruz-Diez, le Parc, Antonio Dias as well as a Fluxist/Conceptual work by Irish artist Noel Sheridan have been curated as a sort of kinaesthetic ‘doorway’ for visitors en route to the Oiticica show.

IMMA Collection: Conversations is ongoing

-CK, Head of Collections.

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Guest Blog: Artist Caroline McCarthy

Irish artist Caroline McCarthy recently worked in collaboration with Marguerite O’Molloy, Assistant Curator: Collections IMMA, to select a number of works from the IMMA Collection for Group Coordination an exciting new project which also incorporates works on loan from McCarthy’s studio.

Borrowing its title from a sculptural still life by McCarthy, Group Coordination is part of the current IMMA Collection: Conversations exhibition. Below, Caroline writes a blog for IMMA on the project:

CMcC-GCoord-001Caroline McCarthy, Group Coordination (Red),
2011, installed at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Group Coordination is a drawing as big as the space; a journey which explores its architecture, responding to paintings and window ledges alike.

MCCARTHY2_GEL_IMMA.1503Caroline McCarthy, The Luncheon, 2002

Photograph of wet toilet paper sculpture (Sculpture: toilet paper of varying colour, water, black bin-bags, real stalks, fake flies, disposable tableware), 196 x 114 cm, IMMA Collection, Donated by A.I.B., 2002

Similar to my work The Luncheon, 2002, it works from a palette of everyday found materials and follows a certain logic in constructing itself: straws are straight lines which can change direction and colour; cigarette filter tips join them seamlessly; cable clips are the hanging system. Objects to hand are drafted in to anchor the drawing such as a clothes peg, a waste-paper bin, a rhino eraser from the Museum shop.


Inadvertently their positioning forms a kind of odd still life. In contrast Fergus Martin’s Table takes everything out, and by doing so puts everything imaginable in; or you start to see things like dirt and scratches, holes and nails.

Martin_Fergus_Table_IMMA.3343Fergus Martin, Table, 2009

Pigment print on photorag, 112 x 205 cm, Edition 3/5, IMMA Collection, Donation, the artist, 2011

We always look for meaning, where dumb, even empty, objects speak to us. Standing face to face with a bronze cast of a woman’s silenced head, Unveiling by Janine Antoni invites (or dares you more like) to strike it like a bell.


Janine Antoni, Unveiling, 1994

Bronze bell, lead clapper, fabric tassle, 53.5 x 33 x 33 cm, Edition 3/3, IMMA Collection, Purchase, 1995

I remember a visit to IMMA as a student in the early 90s when I first encountered and struck this work — Joyous, but somewhat uncomfortable.


Terry Atkinson, Two luminous leads strung into a north facing bunker in Monaghan, 1986

Pastel and pencil on paper, 45 x 42 cm, IMMA Collection, Purchase, 1998

Terry Atkinson’s still lifes are equally uncomfortable without having to strike them. As the titles or the ‘leads’ suggest, violent disruption is imminent, at least in the mind. Enrico Baj looks on; loose scraps assembled in a rectangle, unblinking circles, looking at you; looking ahead into the dark; terrified or crazy? We must be.

Group Co-Ordination with Enrico Baj Headinstallation shot, showing Group Coordination (Red) and Enrico Baj Head, 1970

001Production-Install-2011Caroline McCarthy, Production, 2011

Vase, display case, video, courtesy the artist and Green on Red Gallery, Dublin, 2014

Production films a cheap and cheerful Ikea vase being kicked about the studio. It is a form of uncontrollable making, involving a process which is at the same time both destructive and productive.

VIDEO0008.3gpstill from Production, 2011

The film documents the transformation of a mass-produced object into something unique and irreplaceable, its damage being impossible to reproduce exactly, and therefore precious. It’s not intended as a statement about consumerism, nor is The Luncheon, so much as exploring the language, the systems, and boundaries of art, display and everyday things (which often come from a shop). Michael Craig-Martin paints brightly coloured objects as if fresh from the pound store, but it’s how these things get re-presented which bring an ordinary bucket to interestingly different outcomes in On the Table and Eye of the Storm.

Group Co-Ordination 4Installation shot showing Michael Craig Martin On The Table, 1971 (left foreground) with McCarthy’s Production, 2011 and Paul Klee Flowers in Glasses, 1925 (background left and also below)


I like how in art the same things get borrowed and recycled over again and over the centuries to different ends, like heads, or tables, or flowers — when they stop being flowers, and become a vehicle for something else; or when a rhino makes a journey from real life through Warhol (via Dürer maybe), to an eraser in the Museum shop. Before rubbing itself out.

Caroline McCarthy, London, 2014

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Katherine Atkinson In Response to Summer Rising

There was a sense of anticipation at the entrance to the Formal Gardens in IMMA on Saturday 19th July. The Director and members of the team were adorned with orange IMMA T Shirts, warmly welcoming people and sharing the proposed activities for the day with us. Any fleeting thoughts that there may be weariness from the previous evening’s opening of Hélio Oiticica: Propositions and the adventure of WERK disappeared. Orange is the new craic.

‘They look like they’re going to a party’

Following a ceremonial procession from the Stables to the Formal Gardens I heard a child say ‘they look like they’re going to a party.’ Members of the MA course Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD realised a selection of propositions by Oiticica as part of SUMMER RISING: The IMMA Festival. They solemnly carried the ‘Parangolés’ to the Gardens and proceeded to dress themselves in these capes and proclaim a series of propositions in response to Oiticica’s.

NCAD Oiticica’s Propositions

NCAD Oiticica’s Propositions

‘This is not a performance’ was announced ‘this is a slowly concreting proposal for public participation’ they continued. These statements became provocations ‘this is passionate insolence’ and ‘this is an insult to participation.’

Is this the time to participate? How do you challenge the proposition? We were told to ‘move closer’ however the formal and formulaic method of performance gave no physical invitation to move. The ‘Parangolés’ wrapped the actors so as to make them static and the colour and texture of the garments seemed to dissipate, as the proclamations got louder and more fervent.

Through announcing these propositions the actors were denouncing the intent of the ‘Parangolés’. ‘We are a construction of our environment’, as was this performance. Announcing ‘Trashiscapes’ I imagined using emery boards whilst lying on a mattress contemplating these images, as I circled the performance and gained a new perspective from the Penetrável Macaléia “Homenagem a Jards Macalé.”

Penetrável Macaléia “Homenagem a Jards Macalé”

Penetrável Macaléia “Homenagem a Jards Macalé”

In experiencing this response to Oiticica’s Propositions I thought much about how the exhibition was mediated, the nature of showing and the expectation of a visceral response, the exploration of cultural norms, what it means to participate, how to participate, and how to share that participation with others.

After enlightened refreshment from The Hare Café at the Tiki Hut, I ventured towards the Trade School and was diverted by the atmospheric Laptop Orchestra installation where I saw a bevy of delighted children lolling and listening, banging and dancing around a series of coloured boxes amongst the hedges. With Edible Canvas, the Mobile Art School, Panti’s Drawing & Pictionary, happy children were brimming with creativity through the garden.

In the discussion with curators César Oiticica Filho and Rachael Thomas, we heard about Oiticica’s family and his influences. I gained a new understanding of his life from César and was reminded of the Neo Concrete Manifesto (1959) which called for a reinstatement of the values of intuition, expression and subjectivity. As we listened, a child popped through the hedge next to the curators and faced the audience brightly, followed by a parental figure who could not face the audience.

César responded to a question from an audience member saying that Tropicália is the Oiticia’s most anthropophagic work – when it became a Tropicalismo Oiticica ‘did not want anything to do with it.’

Curatorial talk

 The following Saturday 26th July there was a traffic jam on Thomas St. and I wondered whether the traffic was heading for IMMA. My memory of the previous week was intense and I knew that tickets for the Banquet on Friday night and the Party on Saturday were scarce as hen’s teeth.

I arrived just in time to hear Seán MacErlaine’s rich and playful site-responsive piece for chalumeau and gongs under the trees.

Sean MacErlaine IMMA

Welcomed again by orange clad IMMA team members, I was encouraged to listen to the discussion Cultural Trends in Irish Gastronomy: Jess Murphy, Mark Garry and Michelle Darmody. We sat beneath the trees hearing stories of fresh bread, spuds, razor clams, raw fish, and more. We were given examples of food sourcing from farm to table. The Banquet menu and the installation of the formal garden in the space were described in detail. The beauty of the Banquet experience was expressed by an audience member. The image of thinly ripped seaweed delicately placed on yellow tomatoes as a reflection of the artist’s use of colour stays with me, including the description of the use of empathy and spectacle.

Walking through the gardens I came across the Mobile Art School with Karl Burke, and I was reminded of the images of the workshops during the week with teenagers by Rhona Byrne.

Mobile Art School, Karl Burke IMMA

Mobile Art School, Karl Burke IMMA

Silent walking tours wearing colour, Rhona Byrne

Silent walking tours wearing colour, Rhona Byrne

The IMMA Summer Party came back with a colourful, light filled spectacle of art, food and music. Closing the SUMMER RISING Festival, all were inspired to spend time in the IMMA galleries, formal gardens, historic Great Hall and Baroque Chapel. There was a specially commissioned edition of Gracelands|The Dark Thoughts that Surround Neon transforming IMMA’s formal gardens into a temporary outdoor gallery and cinema.

Hélio Oiticica: Propositions is an immense, immersive exhibition. Incorporating SUMMER RISING: The IMMA Festival, IMMA offered a dynamic programme that explores, questions, unravels, and plays with the notion of the visitor’s experience to a cultural institution.

Katherine Atkinson works in Project Support and Professional Development at Create, National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts


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Last Stop The Gravediggers: A dusk till dawn residency at IMMA

By Janice Hough, IMMA Residency Programmer

In partnership with EVA 2014 David Horvitz was nominated by curator Bassam El Baroni to take up residency living and working onsite at IMMA. Just before Horvitz arrived in March it was revealed he would remain on California time for the duration of his stay. With Agitationism as the theme for this year’s biennial it wasn’t a surprising twist and might be a handy way of avoiding jet lag!

Rising around 3pm and retiring in the small hours of the morning there was rarely an opportunity to have a conversation with Horvitz, he stayed in touch by email giving updates on plans to visit various sites of interest for his time in Dublin with all planned pursuits commencing after his ‘breakfast’ in the afternoon. To add to the confusion, in the middle of his residency the clocks sprung forward to summer time, adding another hour of distance to the daily routine. Around the corridors of IMMA word spread quickly of this guy who no one was going to meet! a scenario which generated a lot of curiosity, poetic resonance and humour with people.

Now that some more time and distance has passed and as part of IMMA’s group exhibition Unseen Presence, I emailed Horvitz the following questions, curious about his unique residency at the Museum.






JH: Did this experience affect your sense of time?

DH: I was trying to stay on the time of my clock, but my body was trying to adjust to the light of the day. So I had this kind of split experience. Sometimes when it was dawn in Ireland, but time for sleep for me, I would feel my body start to wake up because the sky was becoming light.

JH: What was it like being a dusk to dawn fluxus artist?

DH: It was lonely; I spent a lot of time with foxes, security guards, and trees.

JH: Where did all our spoons go?

DH: I sent them to Helga at the New Museum in New York. She maintains my stolen spoon collection. I have a large collection of spoons that have been stolen, mostly while I’m traveling. Helga has a giant box of these. Sometimes I mail them to her, like I did the ones from Ireland. But sometimes I go to the reception of the museum and hand them to security and tell them to give it to Helga. No envelopes needed.

JH: You mentioned how efficient Dublin airport is, how do we compare?

DH: I have this ongoing series where I intentionally lose watercolours when I travel through the security check of airports. They are always in a package or an envelope and have someone’s contact information. Maybe a collector or a gallery’s address. So there is a possibility that they get returned to the gallery or to the collector. My gallery in Berlin has been selling these to collectors. You basically buy the losing of a watercolour with the possibility of it returning to you. I always send an email with a photo as documentation. I was doing this for a show in India with the Kadist Art Foundation, and I lost one in Dublin. In a day or so the curator of the show was already contacted by the airport. Usually this takes weeks or months, if at all. Most stay lost. Dublin Airport was as fast as the Swiss Airports. However, I lost another one a week later in Dublin for a show at Yvon Lambert, and so far no contact. Maybe they are on to it…

JH: We haven’t found your red trousers, any clues, did you get them back?

DH: Someone has them somewhere. Maybe in Limerick. Who knows? Maybe someone is wearing them. If you see someone wearing them, make a photograph for me. If you go to my hotel room I stayed in in Limerick I left a bunch of things under the mattress of the bed. Go get it.

JH: When you arrived some of your first observations and questions were about the blossoms, where our botanical gardens are located, the sundial in the courtyard, the clock tower and if it has a bell?, how near the sea is & where to get a good all day breakfast. What resonance and continuity, if any, did these observations of seasons, time and distance and the upset of ritual have on your work in Dublin?

DH: I came in spring, and I always like to follow the progress of spring where I am. I travel a lot, so I am able to see what stage a place is at. For example I remember seeing Forsythia when I landed in Dublin, but none of the Forsythia in New York had come out yet. And there were cherries and magnolias in bloom already. I was making a slide projection, so all of this entered into the piece. These were visual observations as I wandered around Dublin… And there were times I’d come across indicators of time and distance: maps, sundials, closed shops, newspapers, clocks, etc… So they ended up as things to meditate on.

The Botanical Garden itself is a kind of disrupted space, or a geographical autonomous space. Different climates exist as little bubbles, and plants from different parts of the world can survive there. This piece was about a kind of dislocation. Or a non-time. I like to look at the shadows cast by poles at night from street lights. They are a kind of sundial, yet the lights don’t move like the sun does. It’s like this non-time. You are at night, but it’s like it’s still day. Looking at the stars was once a way of telling time, and with light pollution you lose site of the night sky. And so at night you lose this sense of telling time, and the shadows stand still.

I’m always looking for a bell to melt. I like melting time.

JH: Would you do it again?

DH: I want to do it in every time zone. And the final piece would be to experience California while living on California time.

JH: What surprised you most about this project?

DH: That if I wanted to find a fox I could. Are foxes on California time?


8am pint in the Gravediggers enroute to Dublin Airport ………………..


This text is a contributing element to Unseen Presence, a group exhibition in the Project Spaces at IMMA from 15th July until 24th August featuring various research and studio practices of selected artists on residency at the museum.

Horvitz has contributed the following edition for Unseen Presence

David Horvitz How to exit a photograph

A photographic triptych whose print quality files are openly downloadable and printable. A kind of print-your-own open-edition. The files can be taken to a photo printer and printed.
Files are sized to both 4” x 6” or 8” x 10”. To download the high resolution print files click here

In his practice, Horvitz grapples with time and standardized measurements, and the shifts that occur when natural phenomena are subjected to manmade systems and vice versa. Recent solo exhibitions include: concurrent shows at Jan Mot, Brussels, and Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Warsaw; Peter Amby, Copenhagen; Statements, Art Basel; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; and Chert, Berlin. His work has been shown at EVA International 2014, Glasgow International 2014, LIAF 2013, MoMA, The Kitchen, and the New Museum. Horvitz is represented by Chert Gallery, Berlin.

Janice Hough, IMMA’s Residency Programmer, July 2014

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Back to Werk

She hasn’t missed a single Issue of WERK thus far (well, she didn’t make it to the Melbourne one, but apart from that)…Soracha Pelan Ó Treasaigh, from Dublin, is blogging for IMMA today about what makes the shows so special. She has dedicated her life to culture both high and low, and when not attending events (or watching 90s sitcoms), she works in the Irish Film Institute, with previous roles in the Dublin Theatre Festival and the Festival of World Cultures.


Jenny (one half of THISISPOPBABY) and I were working together when she and Phillip (the other half) were figuring out just what this club would be that the Abbey Theatre had agreed to let them do in the basement. And Jenny was nervous.

Jenny’s fear of starting a club night was that she would end up alone in the toilets crying while the DJ played to an empty hall – but supporting a friend wasn’t my only motivation in buying a ticket (just before it inevitably sold out!). This seemed like a chance to go to something different rather than your typical club night out in Dublin – which generally involved an ill-advised trip to any late night bar that would still serve you after midnight and you might get a (cheesy) bop out of it. So: performance and art as a club, Thisispopbaby, the Abbey Theatre = great expectations.

It came at a time when things in Dublin, and things in the arts industry had become pretty depressing; if you were lucky enough to actually have a job, and even one you actually like, you still could barely make the rent (not much has changed on that front.) The people of WERK promised to take you out of this for a spell, and create an alternative, creative, ridiculous space for you to dig out some thrift store finds from your wardrobe that you never found quite the right occasion for and let your hair down.

I had no idea what to expect – the Peacock Theatre bar I didn’t remember being all that big, or somewhere you’d want to spend an entire night in – but it really was completely transformed. Glitter and gold curtains and lights and all the rest. No space wasted. Performance in the cloakroom, in the jacks, on the drinks menu. Not half assed, and total commitment and attention to detail in order to submerge the audience in the thisispopbaby world.

It’s hard to paint a clear picture without experiencing it – and each time I’ve been it’s something different. It’s a combination of neo-cabaret, performance and then clearing the stage (or getting on the stage) and dancing the night away. My (blurry in some cases) memories are all about having a great night –  the crowd scream singing Things Can Only Get Better in unison as if we were the only people in Dublin that night, The Banana Boat Song with actions performed ala Beetlejuice led by DJ Chewy Chewerson, and then quieter moments from artists experimenting with the space – Ciaran O’Melia in his underwear singing Someone to Watch Over Me, Megan Riordan’s emo- kid rendition of LCD Soundsystem, the hilarious Rubber Bandits (before they were famous), the wonderfully talented Lisa Hannigan – and in such intimate surroundings where the boundaries between performer and audience feel non-existent. All that and then they also manage to slip in some beautifully subversive, challenging and honest moments – one in particular has stuck with me, when compére Neil Watkins performed a lip synch rendition of Michael O’Brien’s harrowing account of abuse from RTÉ’s Questions and Answers.

What makes WERK special is that it can be all at once frivolous, meaningful, wild, fun and subversive – a rare and full experience for a night on the tiles – so bring an open mind and go with it.

And of course, there’s that night it all ended up in a rave at the back of a Chinese restaurant on Parnell Street.

Soracha Pelan Ó Treasaigh July 2014

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