We are in the final stages of preparation for our reopening on October 11th, and while there is a lot to do, the exhibitions are nearly all up, and we are moving onto the finishing touches. Having worked off-site for two years, it is great to see our main building full of art again and ready to welcome the public back.
We are very excited about our Reopening Programme – the Eileen Gray exhibition is stunning, surprising, fascinating and certainly warrants several visits in order to fully absorb the wealth of work within it. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Cloé Pitiot and her colleagues from the Pompidou on developing this exhibition for Dublin. Cloé has been researching Gray’s early life and artistic circle beyond the worlds of architecture and design. In fact, the exhibition includes a very early portrait of Gray by the British Vorticist artist Percy Wyndham Lewis that firmly locates her as part of British artistic life at the turn of the 20th century, also revealing an unlikely friendship with the poet and occultist Aleister Crowley.
The Eileen Gray exhibition has also given us the opportunity to work with our colleagues across the Liffey in Collin’s Barracks, home to Ireland’s permanent collection and display of Eileen Gray works. National Museum curator Jennifer Goff has been a huge support to us in bringing this exhibition to Dublin, and we’re delighted to have this opportunity to build on the work the Museum has done in reintroducing Eileen Gray’s work to Ireland.
And Gray isn’t our only exhibition of course – as ever, a visit to IMMA takes you around the world and across generations – from the Surrealist movement with work by the iconic artist Leonora Carrington to the present with works by our newest generation of Irish artists in In the Line of Beauty. Not to mention, leading international artists Antony Gormley, Liam Gillick and Mark Manders amongst others on show in our Collection exhibition One Foot in the Real World. Art is a continuum and our programme reflects this process of discovery between contemporary artists and the art from the past. An interest in the human relationship to the built environment, to space and to the meaning of beauty connects many of the artists in our Reopening Programme, even if their approaches are very different.
We are delighted to be back in the Royal Hospital, and to celebrate, are planning a very busy Reopening weekend full of talks, special events and activities for all ages. For those wanting to find out more about the exhibitions, the artists from In the Line of Beauty are talking about their work this Saturday; on Sunday, Cloé Pitiot and Jennifer Goff are discussing their research that led to the Eileen Gray exhibition; and on both afternoons, the IMMA curators are leading tours through all of the exhibitions.
In addition to our programme of exhibitions, creating a space for children to discover and enjoy art has always been central to IMMA’s mission, and our Reopening programme is no exception. Our Education and Collection curators have created a special exhibition for children in our new ground floor project spaces. The exhibition Action all Areas encourages children to look, feel and respond and is active all weekend. It includes a series of free workshops together with a specially commissioned participatory new work by artist Rhona Byrne and a dance and drawing workshop for 3-6 year olds.
The weekend finishes with something a little different – a Tea Dance in the Great Hall to take us back to the glamour of Gray’s Twenties Paris. Itsa@IMMA is kindly providing the tea, and there are dancers on hand to show everyone a few steps. All are welcome and absolutely no dancing expertise required!
We look forward to welcoming you back. But first, just a few more labels to put up here!
Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art