Exquisite Corpse is an exhibition of 17 works from the IMMA Collection that seeks to reveal a variety of perspectives on the Collection. The title of the exhibition is drawn from the game ‘Exquisite Corpse’ which was invented by the Surrealists in 1925 where a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. In this case the game’s structure is used to tap into the eclectic character of IMMA’s Collection through the choices and viewpoints of individuals from a broad spectrum of the arts including Dawn Ades, Gerald Barry, Aileen Corkery, Barrie Cooke, Michael Craig-Martin, Mark Garry, Deirdre Horgan, Jaki Irvine, Nicola Lees, Tony Magennis, Lisa Moran, Frances Morris, Colm Tóibín and Mick Wilson.
The ‘exquisite corpse’ principle provides a framework for the exhibition, with each participant selecting a work that responds to the work selected by the previous participant. Following the Surrealists’ methodology participants are only aware of the work that is selected immediately before them. The nature of the exhibition is that the final outcome of the show is largely unpredictable and partly determined by chance. However, it is likely that the exhibition will include a wide selection of works ranging from different eras made in a variety of media. While Exquisite Corpse depends on the participants’ having some previous experience of IMMA’s Collection, their knowledge of the collection will have developed individually and may be haphazardly constructed. As a result, their curatorial choices will inevitably be highly subjective, a point that affords the opportunity of revealing perceptions of IMMA and the audience’s experience of its Collection.