We are currently developing a new website for IMMA. We'd love to hear your feedback.
Take the Exit Survey

Irish Museum of Modern Art Go to the fully accessible text-only version

What's New >

View the Events Calendar >

Join the Mailing List >

Low Graphics Version >

Virtual Tours >


Collection > Past Exhibitions

Between Metaphor and Object: Art of the 90s from the IMMA Collection

Between Metaphor and Object features a range of works from the IMMA Collection, primarily sculptures and installation works from the 1990s. It provides perspectives on the diversity of practice that is represented in the IMMA Collection from this period, explores its particularities, and considers them in the context of international trends of the decade. The title of the exhibition references perceived polarities in art since the 1960s and also proposes the idea of the continuous flux visited upon artworks in the mind of the viewer between symbolism and objecthood. Notably the exhibition incorporates a number of pieces from the Weltkunst Collection, which is on loan to IMMA since 1994. This significant collection of British sculpture and drawings of the 1980s and ‘90s will return to the Weltkunst Foundation in 2010 and the exhibition acknowledges the generous loan of these works.

Richard Wentworth, Heist, 1983, Linen, duckdown, gilded lead, tined steel, 60 x 90 x 65 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Loan, Weltkunst Foundation, 1994Ann Hamilton, Filament II, 1996, Organza fabric, steel mount with electronic controller, Curtain height 426.72 cm, overall installation height variable, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2002Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, The Mysterious Exhibition, 1998, Hospital Bed, Chairs, Bedside Locker, Miniature Theatre, Dimensions Variable, IMMA Collection, Purchase, 1999


The Weltkunst Collection epitomises what is popularly referred to as ‘New British Sculpture’, a term used to describe the quite disparate work of young sculptors who emerged in the late 1970s and ‘80s and who showed renewed interest in using traditional materials after the dominance of Minimalist and Conceptual practices. Figurative and metaphoric imagery reappeared, together with poetic or evocative titles. The principal artists associated with this movement and featured in the exhibition are Barry Flanagan, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anish Kapoor and Alison Wilding. Other key Weltkunst artists included in the exhibition are Avis Newman, Julian Opie, Jacqueline Poncelet and Richard Wentworth. The exhibition will also include other works of the 1990s from the IMMA Collection by artists such as Kiki Smith, whose presence references a central focus of the period on issues of identity, gender and the politics of the body and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, whose works imply stories which must be imagined by their audience.

Liam Gillick, Literally Based on H.Z., 2006, ten table units and seven prototypes, dimensions variable. Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchased 2007 The international dominance in the 1990s of interactive art practices that draw on human relations and their social context, termed ‘Relational Art’, is not reflected in the Weltkunst Collection, although noted exponent Douglas Gordon does feature with the work Above all else, 1991. Literally Based on H.Z., 2006, by Liam Gillick, which investigates latter-day industrially-inspired production models, goes on view for the first time since its acquisition, on the Landing in the context of this exhibition.

To read the introduction text to the exhibition please download the following pdf document:

> arrow link Between Metaphor and Object: Exhibition text (Adobe Acrobat Reader pdf - 22.8KB)

To view the list of works in the exhibition please download the following document:

> arrow link Between Metaphor and Object: List of Works from November 2009 (Word doc 2000 - 1.71MB)

Related Links

> arrow link Liam Gillick, Literally Based on H.Z., 2006

> arrow link Press Release

> arrow link The Irish Times Slide Show - view highlights of the exhibition with curator Marguerite O'Molloy

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Tel: +353-1-6129900, Email: