Irish Museum of Modern Art

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Food Lover, Sophianne Lubasa, tells us about taking part in the Food Power School as part of A Fair Land

A Food Power School took place at IMMA over three weeks as part of A Fair Land to re-discover the power in domestic life. In this blog, Sophianne Lubasa, who took part in week two, tells us about her experience at the school where she learned about the harvesting, preparing and cooking of courgettes from the crop in the courtyard to the lunch diners at the OR/AND table. All activities in the Food School were closely guided and mentored by the Fair Land Team making the food. Pictured below Sophianne tells about the school in her own words.


Leah Whelan, Sophianne Lubasa and Béibhinn O’Hair, at the Food Power School as part of A Fair Land.

I was lucky enough to take part in ‘A Fair Land’ at IMMA recently. I thoroughly enjoyed the four days and was delighted to write this blog detailing my experience when I was asked to!

The first day:

On the first day the four of us met Mark Maguire from IMMA’s Engagement and Learning Team in the reception at IMMA. He spoke to us about IMMA and explained we were going to participate in the food school for the four days. He also explained about the other workshops taking place. Mark then brought us to meet Adam Sutherland, Grizedale Art’s director, who was the coordinator for the day. Adam showed us around and gave us a real feel for what A Fair Land was all about.

IMMA’S courtyard was transformed into a village where visitors were able to partake in making aprons and bowls. They were also able to enjoy the food being made using the courgettes grown at IMMA. We picked the courgettes and courgette flowers which were growing in the middle of the courtyard. We observed the cooking on the first day and helped Adam with the setting up of the lunch. The lunch consisted of courgette based dishes and all of the plates and bowls were made at IMMA. We then got to sit down for lunch ourselves. The first dish was a delicious oriental soup with courgette noodles. After that we had a lovely courgette salad with buckwheat, dill and feta cheese. Lastly we had courgette cake which was so moist and didn’t taste anything like courgettes!

After the lunch we helped Adam with a food demonstration using courgette flowers. It was very interesting because I had never eaten a flower before never mind a deep fried flower with ricotta in the middle. This is a dish I look forward to making at home myself


A Fair Land Village. Photo: Motoko Fujita

Day two:

We all met in the reception again the next morning. Mark asked us how we had found the experience so far. Two of us went to help Adam with his cooking demonstration and the other two stayed to learn how to prepare the lunch and mobile food that was to be sold at IMMA.

I stayed in the kitchen and chopped courgettes for the salad. Then I assisted with preparing some flat bread crackers. Afterwards I helped to make the lemon biscuits to be served in the mobile food and at the lunch too. The team then delivered the food to the lunch guests. After the food was delivered we had our lunch and got a chance to taste of all the dishes. We discussed the food and were encouraged to give our feedback on any way we thought the dishes could be improved. We then cleaned up and prepared some of the food for the next day.


The table laid for the courgette lunch. Photo: Emily O’Callaghan

Day three:

After meeting in reception, we firstly went to one of the studios and got to print aprons for ourselves and also for the shop. Next we went to the kitchen to learn more about the food for the lunch. Afterwards we helped with the mobile food too. We then served the food to the guests and once again we had our lunch. Finally, we cleaned up and prepared some food for the following day when we would get a chance to demonstrate what we had learned over the previous three days.

Day four:

I arrived early on the last day so I went to the kitchen and helped to prepare vegetarian sushi balls for the mobile food. I had never made sushi before so it was a great experience. We all went to one of the studios at IMMA and printed tags. I then went to the kitchen to chop the courgettes. I then started preparing the salads and putting them into beautiful handmade bowls. After that we then served the food to the lunch guests which was met with lots of “oohh”s and some guests took pictures which was really nice to see. For the last time we sat down to lunch ourselves. We also collected any recipes which were of interest to us. Finally we all then went to watch a ravioli cooking demonstration in the courtyard.

Overall it was a great experience and I would definitely do it all over again. I am also very grateful to IMMA for giving me this chance to take part in the food school and making me feel so welcome. To be very honest I didn’t really like courgettes beforehand but since I have seen the many different ways they can be used I love them!!!!

Alongside Sophianne, Leah Whelan and Béibhinn O’Hair, also took part in week two of the Food Power School. IMMA would like to thank them for their dedication and enthusiasm to the project. We would also like to thank the A Fair Land artists who ran the school.

If you would like to try some of the courgette recipes mentioned in this blog, the are available in the Growing magazine produced by A Fair Land.

A Fair Land took place in IMMA’s courtyard for three weeks from 12 to 28 August 2016. Echoing the role artists and the European Arts and Crafts movement played in creating and articulating a new vision for Ireland pre-1916, IMMA and Grizedale Arts (UK) collaborated to create a project that examines the function of art. Click here for full details of A Fair Land and the many different elements of the project.

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The Gordon Lambert Archive Project (Continued)

This is the second of two blogs by Ciara Ball from IMMA’s Visitor Engagement Team introducing Gordon Lambert and his life as a collector and patron as documented through his archive.  A selection of material from the Gordon lambert Archive was on display during National Heritage Week.

Image of suitcase -detail- Photographer Chris Jones

Gordon Lambert’s suitcase, Photo by Chris Jones

Throughout the early 1980’s Gordon Lambert travelled to meetings and exhibitions as a member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art and continued to support Irish artists and build his own collection. Influenced by his experiences with the International Council and the desire to make his art works more available to a public audience his attention became increasingly focused on the need for a national museum of modern art in Ireland. By the time of his retirement from Jacob’s  in 1986 he had become a prominent figure in a growing movement to create a national museum. By the next year the project had gained the approval of then Taoiseach Charles Haughey and with the promise of Gordon’s artworks as the basis for a nation collection debate began about the best location for a new museum.  A city centre site on the Quays known as ‘Stack A’ and the recently restored Royal Hospital Kilmainham divided public opinion until Haughey ended the discussion by announcing IMMA’s establishment in the Royal Hospital in October 1987.

Scanned 1992 Gordon Lambert Exhibition at IMMA reduced 2

Gordon Lambert exhibition at IMMA, 1992

IMMA opened on May 25th 1991 with an inaugural exhibition entitled Inheritance and Transformation. A large selection of works from the Gordon Lambert Collection were first shown in their new home the following year. Over the intervening twenty five years the IMMA Collection has formed the basis of numerous exhibitions, both onsite and in venues throughout the country as part of the museum’s National Programme.

As well as serving on the advisory committee and the first two boards of IMMA during the 1990s, Gordon was a board member of the Art Committee of the Ulster Museum and the Ireland – America Arts Exchange Foundation. He was made an Honorary Doctor in Laws by Trinity College Dublin in 1999 and ended the decade by receiving a Business2Arts award for lifetime commitment to the arts in Ireland.  Despite ill health in his later years, evidence from the archive attests to his continual engagement, through print and correspondence when not possible in person, with all aspects of Ireland’s cultural life, and with the enjoyment and commitment which had always driven him to add so much to it.

Scanned colour photograph GL  with artworks by Arp 2

Gordon Lambert at home with his Collection

Material from the Gordon Lambert Archive was on display during National Heritage week. The cataloguing of the archive is ongoing. For more information please contact Ciara Ball  or Nuria Carballeira, Collections Department, IMMA.  Visitors who are interested in Gordon Lambert can also find the works from his collection donated to IMMA here.



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The Gordon Lambert Archive Project

In the first of two blogs Ciara Ball introduces Gordon Lambert and his life as a collector and art lover before a selection of material from his archive goes on display for National Heritage Week. Ciara Ball is a Member of IMMA’s Visitor Engagement Team. Ciara is working with Nuria Carballeira, Assistant Curator of IMMA’s Collections Department on the Gordon Lambert Archive, IMMA’s first significant archive project funded with help from The Heritage Council.

crop Scanned b&w photograph GL dog with artworks by P Scott J Arp (2) crop1

Gordon Lambert at home with his Collection

Gordon Lambert was one of the first and most generous supporters of IMMA since the campaign for its creation began in the late 1980s. His private collection of over 300 artworks was gifted in stages to the IMMA Collection following its opening in 1991 and includes many well-loved pieces now familiar to our regular visitors. Since 2005 IMMA has also held Gordon’s expansive art library and archive containing letters, cards, photographs, printed material and ephemera collected over six decades. With the help of a grant from the Heritage Council we have now begun the absorbing task of cataloguing this fascinating resource.

Gordon Lambert studied accounting at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1944 he entered the biscuit manufacturing firm W&R Jacob and began a lifelong career in which he would serve the company as Chief Accountant, Marketing Director, Managing Director and finally Chairman from 1977. It was also in the 1940’s that Gordon met Cecil King who in turn introduced him to a large circle of artists and gallerists, many of whom were to become friends and contributors to his budding collection. Meetings in the Robt. Roberts Cáfe on Grafton Street led to soirées at King’s Pembroke Road home and acquaintance with an artistic circle including Oliver Dowling, Patrick Hennessy, Henry Robertson Craig and gallerist David Hendriks.


Archive material from Gordon Lambert Archive, Photo: Chris Jones

Gordon bought his first painting Pont du Carrousel (1954) by Barbara Warren in 1954. This was followed by Aperitif (c.1956) by Henry Robertson Craig and Patrick Hennessy’s Boy and Seagull (c.1954), recently included in the very popular exhibition Patrick Hennessy: De Profundis. During the 1960s he continued to support Irish artists while also adding significant international names to his collection. The many friends who congregated in his Rathfarnham home Continue reading

‘Ogle’ A new poem by Doireann Ní Ghríofa after Carol Rama’s ‘L’Isola degli occhi’

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer working both in Irish and English. She frequently participates in cross-disciplinary collaborations, fusing poetry with film, dance, music, and visual art. We are delighted to be able to publish, for the first time, a new work by Doireann written in response to the current retrospective of Carol Rama here at IMMA (closing 1 Aug 2016). Doireann introduces the work below, and the poem follows.


Carol_Rama_ 06

Pictured here on the far right is Carol Rama, L’isola degli occhi (The Island of Eyes), 1967, Plastic eyes, synthetic resin and enamel on canvas, 120 x 160 cm, Private Collection, Installation view at IMMA, photo Denis Mortell.

An Island of Eyes

A first encounter with the work of Carol Rama is a shock, a visceral jolt, an astonishment. As I walked through IMMA’s retrospective of Carol Rama’s life work, I was reminded of a quote by Philip Larkin– “Poetry is nobody’s business except the poet’s, and everybody else can f*** off.” Plucky and boisterous as she was (and no stranger to poetry herself), I feel that Carol Rama would have enjoyed this quote as applied to her art, in fact I can almost imagine the spark in her eye, her hoarse chuckle.

Yet despite the irreverence of that quote, Carol Rama’s work is our business, for it challenges us, it provokes us, it questions us. If art can be considered a reflection then Rama’s work is particularly human, for here we are, in each piece, flawed and messy, muddled and bizarre. Here is the life-work of a woman with guts. Rama is an artist who was driven by her loyalty to the depiction of desire, and to the bodily urge to make and to create. Each work is a challenge, a dare. It isn’t pretty. Rather, Rama is driven to attend to her own instincts, bloody and filthy, foul and true. There is little sense here of attempting to pander to an audience, or seeking approval. Nothing about Rama is easy.  It’s difficult to gaze into the glorious mess of the human psyche. Continue reading

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Gallery Voices: Touching, intriguing, descriptive, upsetting, a response to The Passion According to Carol Rama

In our Gallery Voices series Evy Richard, from our Visitor Engagement Team, takes us on an insightful journey through the exhibition The Passion According to Carol Rama exploring the extraordinary life and work of Italian artist Carol Rama.

The exhibition is now in its final week ending this Bank Holiday Monday 1 August.
Admission Free.



Carol Rama in her atelier home, Turin, ©Photo: Pino Dell’Aquila, 1989. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino

A tour of this exhibition is like having a chat. The curators at IMMA have tried to replicate the artist’s apartment in Turin, Italy, where she lived like a recluse for most of her life, until her death on the 25th of September last year. Meandering from room to room, through corridors and passing alcoves is also like being on a journey, discovering the nooks and crannies of Rama’s home.

It is quite dark, lit low and black walls face you at mid corridor.

And the title, The Passion. Double meaning here? The deep impulse to create, paint, draw, no matter what, where nor with what. The main emotion running through 80 odd years of this artist’s life. Maybe also the spiritual Passion, a transcending pain, exposure, the spiritual battle to overcome a lowly “human condition”.

Born in 1918 into an affluent industrialist family, she started drawing at 14 and “ I never stopped, never” (Carol Rama). Her life takes a u-turn when her mother (also maybe her grand-mother?) is interned in a psychiatric hospital. Family conflict, business ruin, a father ousted as homosexual, his suicide? The conjectures are still rife as Carol herself kept a firm and unpredictable rein on her own history. Her death last September may now open more windows into her life. Continue reading