Now open at IMMA
, a new exhibition by Lennon entitled Porous Plane, presents a range of work from the 1970s to the present which includes 1/3/92B, 1992, from the IMMA Collection and Folded/Unfolded MM 1972 (for Fiona), 2017, shown originally in Lennons first solo exhibition at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 1972 and remade especially for the IMMA Galleries as part of this exhibition.
Lennons exhibition is part of a curatorial approach that explores works in the IMMA Collection where artists are invited to place their early work among their current practice - Then and Now. Lennons art began in the 1970s with the Folded/Unfolded paintings and has continued to explore innovative forms of painting, most recently, AL13s, Denier7s, Autochthones and the on-going Arbitrary Colour Collections.
The Folded/Unfolded paintings first appeared in Lennon's first solo exhibition at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 1972. They are paradoxes and were his most emphatic early response to his discovery, aged 12, of the Holocaust. Lennons early paintings function like high relief sculptures, with the artist folding the canvas in order to control and manipulate the space of and around the work. Lennon describes his 1972 making of Folded/Unfolded in an essay, Self-making in a Post-Colonial Culture, written for the IMMA exhibition; I had been experimenting with ways of making paintings by pouring paint into canvases and shaping them by handling and folding them in ordinary everyday ways that most people do. I decided to exaggerate and make a large version of these ideas; the resulting paradoxical thing that emerged was Folded/Unfolded. Making it was a simple strategy of separating out facts from feelings, choosing 'givens': the canvas for the outer world of facts, and poured paint (added to it in a mixed complex of colour) for the inner emotional world of feelings. The support would be a conventional wall, a temporary arrangement.
Within the essay Lennon also describes his experience of making and exhibiting art; My experience in a lifetime of art-making is one of intense activity followed by long pauses and stoppages, lots of moving about and making my hands, arms and body exert form, shape and colour in a vigorous activity. Then long, timeless pauses of motionless gazing, observing those strange after-image and after-actions, re-enacting what has just happened and beginning the process of making judgement on how to continue, all the while watching the paint drying and hoping it will still look as good as it did in the tin. It is this motionless latter part that is asked of you the viewer, in that special space and time of art: the stopping part. To stand still and to observe your own inner responses in your own unique individual dimensions and private inner feelings of which you are the sole authority.
The painting, AL13, is on aluminium and is composed of five composites each one a composite of brushstroke and surface. The AL13 paintings have no verticals: the viewer is the vertical who completes the composition.
Porous Plane is presented alongside Coast-Lines a major new exhibition from the IMMA Collection. Drawing on the paradox implicit in the word coastline - for never has a coast followed a linear course - the title of this exhibition throws a line around a 12 month period of changing displays of artworks and archival material that will explore our sense of place, perception, representation and memory. Artists include Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Anne Madden, Anita Groener, Michael Mulcahy, Donald Teskey, Tony OMalley, Alexandra Wejchert, Bridget Riley, Brian ODoherty, Hamish Fulton, Timothy Robinson amongst others.
Porous Plane and Coast-Lines are both open until 30 September 2018 in IMMAs Main Galleries. Admission is free of charge.
Born in Dublin in 1947, Lennon studied at the National College of Art & Design from 1963 to 1967. He has been awarded the Pollock Krasner Foundation Award twice in 1991 and in 1997. In 1993 he became an elected member of Aosdána and in 1996 he was chosen to represent Ireland at the São Paulo Biennial in Brazil. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in museums and art galleries in Ireland and abroad including: the Arken Museum of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen; National Gallery of Ireland; IMMA; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Chester Beatty Library, Dublin; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast; Annely Juda Fine Art, London and Galerie Lahumier in Paris. His work has also been included in exhibitions representing contemporary Irish art in London, Paris and New York. Lennons work is represented in many major collections including Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; the National Gallery of Ireland; IMMA; Kamarsky Collection, New York and the Fogg Museum of Fine Art, Harvard. He lives and works in Dublin.