Exhibition from Irish Museum of Modern Art at Tallaght Community Arts
An exhibition featuring artworks focusing on the human figure by Irish and international artists represented in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection opens to the public at Tallaght Community Arts on Tuesday 17 November. Figuring It Out includes artworks by Amanda Coogan, Antony Gormley, Isabel Nolan, Denis Oppenheim and Beverly Semmes. The exhibition is a continuation of Tallaght Community Arts and the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s long-standing partnership as part of IMMA’s National Programme. The exhibition marks the first occasion that they have worked together in the new Rua Red exhibition space. Since March students from Jobstown Community School have been working with Tallaght Community Arts and IMMA’s National Programme exploring the process of curating an exhibition. These students have assisted with the curation and delivery of Figuring It Out. Artworks made in response to the IMMA artworks by the students are also shown.
Born in Washington D.C. and based in New York City, Semmes worked as a performance artist and sculptor using the luxurious world of high fashion as a starting point. Incorporating highly sensuous materials, velvet, tulle, organza and lame - in colours ranging from the most delicate and transparent to the most opaque and intense, she fashions garments which become metaphors for the body and landscape. In 1995, Semmes was invited to design sets for a ballet. Inspired by the dance she began to create dresses which move, further emphasising the absent presence of the body within. Big Silver is one such piece. The work is attached to a motorised pulley so that it rises and subsides at regular intervals, mimicking the ballet dancer at the bar.
Antony Gormley's sculptures take their starting point from the presence of the body or human form. Sick was cast in lead from the artist’s own body and is an early example of the 'body case' sculptures for which Gormley gained wide recognition. A further example of Gormley’s direct use of his body is a series of etchings, Body and Soul portfolio, the impressions having been sourced directly from Gormley’s body are also included in this exhibition.
The basis of Amanda Coogan's practice is the durational live performance where her powerful live events are fundamental to her videos and photographs. She aims to condense an idea to its very essence and communicate it through her body. The photograph, Medea, is taken from a three-hour performance which tells the secrets of the deaf community through Irish Sign Language. These are stories of oppression, humiliation, and sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the clergy. Born hearing to deaf parents, Irish Sign Language was Coogan’s first language and this has profoundly influenced her work.
The central aim of the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s National Programme is to establish the Museum’s core values of excellence, inclusiveness and accessibility to contemporary art on a national level. Focusing on the Museum’s Collection, the programme facilitates offsite projects and exhibitions in a range of venues and situations throughout Ireland. IMMA aims to act as a resource at a local level through working in partnership and relying on the knowledge and concerns of the local community. Partner organisations are wide-ranging and include a variety of venues both in traditional art and non-arts spaces, allowing for far-reaching access and interaction.
The National Programme has been supported by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of workshops for primary schools supported by the Department of Education and Science.
Figuring It Out continues until Saturday 5 December 2009 in Tallaght Community Arts, RuaRed South Dublin Arts Centre, Civic Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24.