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Exhibition presents a selection of works exploring the archetypes of good and evil characters
Francois I and Diane de Poitiers (Detail). Oil on canvas, 133 x 160 cm. Collection Crawford Art Gallery.

CORK.- The Crawford Art Gallery presents Heroes and Villains, a selection of works from the collection exploring the archetypes of good and evil characters, and the middle ground between them. This family friendly exhibition, finds its inspiration in a time when we are unsure of who or what to trust.

From fallen heroes and reformed villains to accidental heroes, heroes of the moment, and villains for all time, this exhibition showcases a wide variety of real or imagined figures and the many ways that artists have celebrated or presented the shades of good or bad in all of us.

This extensive exhibition draws from eighteenth-century oil paintings to contemporary prints, displaying a variety of mediums, successfully conveying the ethos of the gallery, as a delightful fusion of contemporary and historical works.

Through the eclectic nature of the works on display, by artists such as, Picasso, Suzanna Chan, Seán Keating, Rita Duffy and Maclise, the viewer is invited to explore the boundaries of good and evil. Familiar faces from popular culture like Roy Keane, Captain America and Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter (Fiona Shaw) sit beside Eva Braun, King Lear and Satan himself, allowing us to form questions about what typifies a hero and how culture shapes our concept of what it takes to be a hero or a villain.

What does a hero look like? What makes a villain? How does a sporting hero like Roy Keane compare with the ancient warrior Achilles? These are the intrigues presented by the exhibition.

The audience is urged to probe the concept of what defines a hero and a villain, how over time our view has been shaped of what it is to be on either side. We are encouraged to react to the characters and to find the links between the exhibition and life. As a nation known for the art of storytelling, HEROES & VILLAINS invites us to question traditional portrayals of good and evil.

Curated by Anne Boddaert and Michael Waldron

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