A variety of small animals have recently taken up residence in the grounds at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The animals, which take the form of a series of road signs, are part of an installation by British artist Julian Opie commissioned by BALTIC – the centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England, to mark its opening in July of this year.
The installation comprises five signs from Opie’s Escaped Animals series – a cat, a fox, a hedgehog, a sheep and a squirrel – which have been placed along the West Avenue at IMMA. Like real road signs, these graphic images are designed to be read and understood instantly. Reduced to their bare essentials, all unnecessary or excessive visual information edited out, they function as symbols for the things they represent. And yet, unlike real road signs, they do not point the way or tell us where to go, but encourage us instead to make our own interpretation.
The Escaped Animals are designed to ‘point the way’ to BALTIC from outside a number of leading museums and galleries. In addition to IMMA, those participating are the Arnolfini, Bristol; the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Tate Liverpool and the Tate Modern, London.
The works are very kindly being donated to IMMA’s Collection by BALTIC. Born in London in 1958, Julian Opie has exhibited widely in Europe and the United States. His one-person exhibitions include Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Lisson Gallery, London, (2001), Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (1999), and the Hayward Gallery, London (1993). Recent group exhibitions include Sitooteries, Belsay Hall, Northumberland (2000), Intelligence: New British Art 2000 (Tate Gallery, London) and Every Day, 11th Biennial of Sydney (1998). Other projects include multiples, colouring books and designs for record sleeves (St. Etienne and Blur album covers, 2000).
Opening hours: Tue - Sat 10.00am - 5.30pm Sun, Bank Holidays, 27, 28, 31 Dec and 1 Jan 12 noon – 5.30pm
Mondays and 24 - 26, 30 Dec Closed
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