Two new site-specific works by leading international artists Liam Gillick and Susana Solano went on show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
on Wednesday 7 September 2011. The installations have been commissioned by IMMA for its beautiful 17th-century courtyard, which is at the heart of the IMMA complex. Widely regarded as one of the most pioneering artists of his generation, British artist Liam Gillick presents A Game of War Structure, 2011, a newly-designed version of The Game of War (Le Jeu de la Guerre) created originally by the French Situationist Guy Debord in 1977, while the internationally-celebrated Spanish artist Susana Solanos work, Carmen, 2011, is a large stainless steel sculptural work which encourages the viewer to experience the emotion that the form engenders as it transforms the surrounding environment.
Gillicks work is based on the war game first produced by Debord who in 1977 founded the company Strategic and Historical Games, with the goal of producing the Kriegspiel, a game of war. Inspired by military theory and the European campaigns of Napoleon, Debords version is a variant on the game of chess played by two opposing players on a game board of 500 squares arranged in rows of 20 by 25 squares. The object of the game is to destroy the opponent, either by eliminating all its forces, or by destroying its two arsenals. Gillicks, A Game of War Structure, comprises three game sets located in the colonnades adjacent to the courtyard. An instruction booklet and the game pieces may be borrowed from the Museum. In addition, specialist gamers will be invited to play during the course of the installation.
Solanos sculptural work, Carmen, alters our perception of the architectural space that it is contained within, not only through the tunnelling of our vision through the work but the reflection of the museums architecture in the stainless steel material. Her works tend to invade spaces that are intended as empty silence that architecture engenders, this disruption allows for a nuance of meaning and an open-ended interpretation of what the artist is trying to achieve. Solanos sculptures create an ambiguous relationship with the viewer by both inviting and forbidding entry into the spaces they inhabit.
Based in London and New York, Gillicks solo exhibitions include Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2002; Palais de Tokyo, 2005, and the MCA, Chicago, 2008-2010. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2002 and the Vincent Award at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2008. In 2006 he was a central figure in the free art school project unitednationsplaza in Berlin that travelled to Mexico City and New York. Gillick has published a number of texts that function in parallel to his artwork. He was selected to represent Germany for the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. A major exhibition of his work opened at the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in 2010. He has taught at Columbia University in New York since 1997 and the Centre for Curatorial Studies at Bard College since 2008.
Born in Barcelona in 1946, Solano is one of a handful of Spanish artists who has gained international recognition. She studied at the Bellas Artes de San Jorge in Barcelona. Her first solo exhibition was in 1980 at the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, where she showed large-scale hanging canvases. During the 1980s she experimented with a diverse range of sculptural processes and materials and began to create large-scale constructions. Her work has been included in major exhibitions such as the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1988; Documenta 8 Kassel, Germany, 1987; and she was one of two artists representing Spain in the XLIII Venice Biennale in 1988. Recent solo exhibitions include Proyectos: Susana Solano, Museo Colecciones ICO, Madrid, 2007; Galerie Bernard Bouche, Paris, 2008, and Galeria Maior, Palma, Spain, 2010.