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enVisage the Face in Contemporary Art at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

An exhibition of works based on the theme of the portrait opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday 9 October. enVisage comprises some 60 paintings, sculptures and prints from the Museum’s own Collection, all inspired by the human face, which has been the focus of creative interest since the beginning of time.

Some artists have seen the face as a mask, disguising or concealing the person to whom it belongs; others as a mirror in which the full force of the personality is revealed. The exhibition explores these and other aspects of the genre through works by artists such as John Bellany, who used the puffin as a self-image and Sava Seculic, whose triple-headed 'Gourd' is one of the most unusual items on display. enVisage combines portraits in print by Tim Mara, Mimmo Paladino and Wilfredo Lam with sculptures by John Ahearn and Stephan Balkenhol and, for the first time since its acquisition, works from Brian Maguire’s important 'Casa da Cultura' project.

Commentating on the exhibition Catherine Marshall, Head of the Collection at IMMA, said: “since the day we were born we are all concerned with faces, either our own, those of the people we love, the imaginary faces we project on to the moon, even the letter ‘O’ in the newspaper. We attribute qualities like guilt, innocence, intelligence and kindness to faces we see on television. The IMMA Collection has an astonishing range of artist’s impressions of the face, including works exhibited here for the first time. This exhibition gives us a chance to assemble these portraits and tease out some of the issues that accompany our perceptions of them. The face becomes a landscape in a painting by Martin Wedge, a split face by Eithne Jordan raises perennial questions of identity and Brian Maguire’s faces from Sao Paolo make us think again about the individual, the political realities we operate within and the traditional contexts for portraiture”.

The exhibition will include a Work in Focus, in which one work, 'Francis Street Boys', 1994, by American artist John Ahearn, Úna Kealy and the Sixth class boys from Francis Street C.B.S. will be explored in more depth.
enVisage continues until 21 April 2002.
Admission: Free

The exhibition is accompanied by a guide with a text by Catherine Marshall (price £2.00, €2.52). A Work in Focus leaflet on John Ahearn’s 'Francis Stree Boys' is also available (price £1.20, €1.50).

Opening Hours:Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sun, Bank Holidays 2 noon – 5.30pm
Mondays: Closed, 24 - 26 December
For further information and colour images please contact Philomena Byrne or Monica Cullinane at Tel: +353-1-612 9900, Fax: +353-1-612 9999, email:
25 September 2001


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