Irish Museum of Modern Art

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IMMA Shop: Christmas 2016

fullsizerenderShop IMMA this Christmas
We’re all familiar with the challenge that gift giving brings this time of year; how and where to find original presents for your loved ones of all ages. As always, the IMMA Shop has a beautiful offer with a selection of creative and unique gifts. Prices start from as little as €5 and there is a great selection of Irish and International design and craft, jewellery, art books, toys, art prints, or a year-long art experience from IMMA through membership (now available for purchase online here).

Making a purchase from the IMMA Shop is rewarding for both gift-giver and receiver. Not only will you be supporting Irish art, and spending time within IMMA and the beautiful, historic grounds of Royal Hospital Kilmainham, avoiding the congestion of the city centre and main shopping areas, but you’ll also be supporting our work at IMMA and the work of independent artists and suppliers. Continue below to explore some of the items we’re most excited about (and the gifts we’re secretly hoping to receive, ourselves).

imma-membershipIMMA Membership
Membership has its benefits. For only €50 (€30 concession), you can give the gift of membership to one of Ireland’s most vital art organisations. Membership includes invitations to exclusive events, talks, lectures, and openings, discounts on purchases from the IMMA Shop and Limited Art Editions, free teas and coffees from the Itsa Café and unlimited entry to IMMA exhibitions where an admission fee applies, like the landmark exhibition of Lucian Freud work currently open until October 2017 and beyond. Explore the levels of membership here.

Husband and wife team Fiona Snow and Michael Mohler combine technology, precision, creativity and design in their Irish-made work. We currently carry a vast collection of affordable laser-cut design in the form of wooden tree ornaments, household decorations and paper stationary. All products are designed and made by SNOW in their Dublin studio. The layered coloured paper used in the creation of stationary and small art prints is particularly stunning.

Wolf & Moonwallpaper-necklace-mint-750_1024x1024
Jewellery made from a combination of woods, metals, acrylics and fabrics to create individual pieces inspired by geometry and the natural world.
Wolf & Moon is owned and operated by British designer Hannah Davis in her East London studio, where each piece is handmade with care. The range is exclusive to IMMA Shop in Ireland and we carry a broad selection of Wolf & Moon’s best pieces.

Hans Christian Andersen and Sanna Annukkablog_firtree_sanna2-650x488
The IMMA Shop has an extensive collection of books for all ages and interests, but the two newest seasonal additions are The Fir Tree and The Snow Queen by prolific Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. These two classics have been re-released by Penguin Books with new illustrations by Finnish-British artist Sanna Annukka. These two books display Scandanavian-inspired beauty at its best and are suitable gifts for lovers of design and texture and readers of all ages and levels.

Love & Robots1510546_401181523368177_6941410000321811251_n
Inspired by contemporary culture, geometry, architecture, graphic design and urban life, Love & Robots use bright, colourful nylon and beautiful precious metals to create jewellery to suit unique individuals and their personalities. A new addition to the IMMA Shop for December, we have teamed with Love & Robots to offer a selection of their most popular and vibrant pieces at an affordable price.


Freud Exhibition PackReflection (Self Portrait), 1985 (oil on canvas)
Give a truly unique cultural experience this Christmas by gifting a loved one fifty works by Lucian Freud…or at least the experience of visiting these beautiful works currently on display in the Freud Centre as part of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project. You can even take some of the works home in the form of a limited edition poster, postcard pack, magnet, notebook, and a beautiful new Freud book, fully illustrated with all fifty works, an introduction from Curator and Head of Collections Christina Kennedy and 31 responses from contemporary artists to Freud’s work.  Included in this pack are a complementary visitor’s voucher for two (RRP €16), the Freud book (RRP €18), a limited edition poster (RRP €18), fridge magnet (RRP €2.50), notebook (RRP €9.95) and postcard pack (RRP €10) all for the great bundle price of €45.

tim-robinsonTim Robinson – IMMA Art Editions
Author, visual artist, curator, cartographer and mathematician Tim Robinsonrecently donated his personal archive to IMMA Collections for restoration. To fund this project, two new IMMA  Art Editions have been released just in time for Christmas. One is a colourful exploration of mathematics and palette, the other is a detailed map of an Aran coastline. Robinson is noted for his technical background, having studied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge before practising as a visual artist in Europe. He settled in the Aran Islands off the West Coast of Ireland and became fascinated by the geography and landscape of the islands and the ruggedness of Connemara. Though formally trained in a very specific science, Robinson uses his creative intuition to create pieces that are beautiful and functional.

The above is just but a sample of all the wonderful and whimsical items available at the IMMA Shop. Visit the IMMA Shop on the 1st Floor of IMMA and explore the selection!

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‘Foreign Body’ – a poem by Cherry Smyth in response to Jaki Irvine’s ‘If the Ground Should Open…’

Cherry Smyth, poet, curator and art writer, is one of the collaborators in Jaki Irvine’s new work If the Ground Should Open…, a major new commission for IMMA presented on the occasion of the centenary of the historic Easter uprisings of 1916. In this blog Smyth discusses her response to Irvine’s work and presents her poem Foreign Body which is performed within the first and eponymous track of Irvine’s new work, currently at IMMA.

A one-off live performance of If the Ground Should Open…, in its entirety, takes place on Tuesday 13 December at 7pm in the atmospheric surrounds of the Great Hall at IMMA, where the footage for the original sound and video work was developed. Cherry Smyth will participate in this live performance alongside the other project performers which include Louise Phelan and Cats Irvine (vocals) ; Sarah Grimes (drums); Jane Hughes (cello); Izumi Kimura (piano); Hilary Knox (bagpipes); Liz McClaren (violin) and Aura Stone (double bass).

Book Tickets €8 euro including post performance reception.

Foreign Body – a poem by Cherry Smyth written for Jaki Irvine, If the Ground Should Open (2016)

When Jaki Irvine asked me to respond to her book Days of Surrender (Copy Press, London, 2015), two things hooked me: the notion of bystanding, inspired by those who claimed to be ‘innocent bystanders’ in Dublin in 1916 and the name Elizabeth O’Farrell, which kept ringing and echoing back as Mairéad Farrell.  Who draws the line of innocence and who chooses to cross it?  I like to think I could have been Elizabeth O’Farrell, risking gunfire in the streets, sacrificing safety and I shudder to think I could have been Mairéad Farrell, an active member of the IRA, jailed for ten years for bombing a hotel and then assassinated by the SAS.  Where does the choice lie?  And how does history choose its heroines?


Winston Churchill Avenue, Gibraltar

I had been haunted by Mairéad Farrell’s death since 1988 and knew I could only understand her lack of choice if some part of me became her through a poem.  I wrote about this process more fully in an essay entitled Bystander.

I am interested in how art and poetry can build a space that can hold everything: the collapsed and derided financial system, the failed and deluded electoral system and the ongoing, troubled and troubling project of a united and independent Ireland.  Jaki Irvine’s If the Ground Should Open… creates this kind of space, a space we didn’t know how much we needed until it appeared, a space that has the audacity to put anomalous things together and make a moral resonance.

If the Ground Should Open… presents a big, bleak space, with a mournful coaxing of sound and women’s voices.  The traditional white space around a poem, Irvine juices with music, colours with sound that lifts my poem, Foreign Body, into a new auditory landscape.  This allows others to inhabit the world of the poem in a much fuller and more powerful way.  It is a world of deep (and deepening) frustration with how women’s power and wisdom are dulled, ditched or destroyed by patriarchal culture.

‘The mouth is engineered by gender’ writes Vahni Capildeo in her striking new collection Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016) and Irvine captures this wonderfully in the phone excerpt of a corrupt, male banker cackling with glee set against visceral female keening.

I write poetry to face the ugliness of contradictions, of moral ambiguity, to stay looking when others have turned away, to inhabit the room they want to evict us from.  Poetry can do what nothing else wants to: call to account, act as a witness.  It relieves the passivity of trauma; it can transform and heal to write what is in front of you.  You are no longer helpless, no longer a bystander.  The vision in your head is outside of you and others can enter it and be held and changed there.

Foreign Body

In 1988, a girl went to Spain.
An Irish girl.  It was March.
Some would say woman.
But she was a girl, a good girl,
to those who knew her.  Clear-eyed, pale.
The mimosa was out.  She rented
a white Ford Fiesta.  A friend gave her a gift.
Carefully wrapped.  She put it in the boot,
parked in a multi-storey carpark.
The friend’s name was Libya.

The girl was 13 in 1970.
Some say it was the platform boots.
Others that it was boots on the ground.
She couldn’t breathe.
The streets were made empty.  She couldn’t
run across her own street.  Boots on the ground.
New platform boots.  Some say it was the CS gas.
She couldn’t see across her street.
The street’s name was the Fall’s Road.

1973 and she liked disco.  The sounds
of Hot Chocolate.  The sounds of binlids
battering the tarmac.  An alerting clatter
to her friends across the street, to hide
their gifts, to move their treasure.
Some say she got in with the wrong crowd,
others that she got an education.  Everyone
with an accent was suspect and everyone
had an accent.  On the streets, a foreign body,
making the local foreign, making who you had
tea with disappear.  That’s 10,000 teacups,
never a judge, never a jury.  Making a schoolgirl
put on a black skirt, a white shirt, a black tie.
It was not a school uniform.  Taking 3000
women and kids to march into the curfew
with bread and milk to break it.

Some say she was walking down a street in Spain
that was a street in Britain.  Some said it in Spanish,
others in English.  The word for ‘prone’ in Spanish
is ‘propenso’.  It was broad daylight, with two friends.
Some said a bad lot.  Some said they had time to look,
put their hands up.  Others that the shooters kept
shooting when they were prone.

The Special Air Service does not deliver air.

Ten years in Armagh, had taught her nothing,
explained everything.  She couldn’t breathe,
wouldn’t wear the uniform.  She wrote with shit,
spoke hunger to the world’s airwaves.

Some called it a war, but she could not be called
a soldier.  Some said she was a criminal, but there
was no trial.  Some called her above the law, but
the execution lawful.  Bare-headed in the spring sun.
Bare-handed on the Spanish-British street, travelling
under a false name that the border control already knew.
A foreign body on a Gibraltar avenue.

i.m. Mairéad Farrell, 1957-1988 (aged 31)



Cherry Smyth is a Northern Irish poet and art writer, living in London.  Her first two collections were published by Lagan Press: When the Lights Go Up, 2001 and One Wanted Thing, 2006.  Her third collection Test, Orange, appeared with Pindrop Press, 2012.  Her debut novel, Hold Still, Holland Park Press  came out in 2015. She writes regularly about art for Art Monthly and has written catalogue essays for Elizabeth Magill, Siobhan Hapaska, Brigit McLeer and Orla Barry, among others.  The hallmarks of her work are ‘precision, linguistic inventiveness and joy’, The Irish Times.




If the Ground Should Open… by Jaki Irvine continues at IMMA in the Courtyard Galleries until 15 January 2017. Foreign Bodies is one of eleven tracks which make up the work. Admission to the exhibition is free.

A one-off live performance of the work takes place on Tuesday 13 December at 7pm,. Tickets €8, which includes booking fee and beverages after the performance. Book here.

Watch Jaki Irvine talk about her work in this video introduction to her exhibition.


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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