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Irish Museum of Modern Art announces landmark Lucian Freud Project for Ireland
Reflection (Self Portrait), 1985 (oil on canvas), Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) / Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Image.

DUBLIN.- IMMA announced highlights from our 2016 exhibition programme yesterday, Tue 8 March 2016.

Sarah Glennie, Director of IMMA, said: “We are delighted to announce today that the IMMA Collection has secured an important long-term loan of 50 works by Lucian Freud (1922-2011); one of the greatest figurative painters of the 20th-century. From September 2016, the IMMA Collection: Freud Project will be presented in a new, dedicated Freud Centre in the IMMA Garden Galleries for five years. With this extraordinary resource IMMA will create a centre for Freud research with a special programme of exhibitions, education partnerships, symposia and research that will maximise this exciting opportunity on offer in Ireland.”

“Ireland’s commemoration year 2016 presents an important moment to examine the role of the artist in shaping our contemporary society, and we have commissioned a number of leading artists to create and present new work that reflects the legacy of Ireland’s past as a means to understand our present. Irish artist Jaki Irvine is developing a new work based on her novel Days of Surrender (2013) that tells the story of Elizabeth O'Farrell and her partner Julia Grenan, two out of several hundred women who took an active part in the Rising yet were almost erased out of history. British/Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara’s new project The Humanizer places Roger Casement’s extraordinary biography at the core of an imagined new Hollywood biopic, while Irish born artist Duncan Campbell is working on his first film based in the Republic of Ireland, which takes as a starting point a series of American anthropological studies of Gaelic speaking rural communities in Ireland in the 60s and 70s.

“Artists will take over our courtyard this summer for an ambitious new project; A Fair Land, presented in collaboration with Grizedale Arts. Echoing the role artists played in creating and articulating a new vision for Ireland pre-1916, A Fair Land will be developed and activated by a range of artists and creative practitioners with the aim of creating new, artist-led visions for a functioning future society.”

“These new commissions are presented alongside major solo exhibitions by Irish artist Patrick Hennessy, who is the second study in our Modern Irish Masters Series, and Italian artist Carol Rama, both born in the same year and both neglected by the official art circles of their time. In the Autumn we present a major exhibition of artist Emily Jacir, whose work explores various histories of migration, resistance and exchange through the telling of very personal stories, and in a new invited curators initiative Indian curator Sumesh Sharma and Irish curator Kate Strain will present projects at IMMA that reflect their individual practices and bring new curatorial perspectives into IMMA’s programme”

These new art projects are presented as part of an exciting on-going initiative, New Art at IMMA, proudly supported by Matheson, which allows IMMA to continue to support artists’ vital work in a strand of programming that recognises and nurtures new and emerging talents, new thinking and new forms of exhibition-making. Tim Scanlon, partner at Matheson, said, "Nurturing new talent is central to what we do in Matheson. Our on-going involvement with IMMA on the New Art at IMMA programme continues to be an exciting way for us to support new and emerging talent."

Sarah Glennie continued; “The focus of IMMA’s 2016 programme is to celebrate the radical thinkers and activists who paved the way for courageous social change, whilst reflecting on the artistic and cultural community who played an active role in the period leading up to 1916. They imagined creativity as central to the new society and in 2016 we consider their legacy and their ideals, many of which we are still working towards today over a hundred years later. We ask what artists can tell us about our collective cultural identities and the societies we live in today whilst considering the role artists can play in helping us remember, reflect and commemorate. We explore these questions through the lens of contemporary arts practice; creating a space for difference, debate and imagination in Ireland’s year of national reflection.”

The IMMA Collection: Freud Project launches in 2016 and this important body of work, on loan to IMMA from a number of private collections, will be the focus of several major programming initiatives for the next five years. Lucian Freud is one of the greatest exponents of figurative painting in the 20th-century and the works on loan to IMMA include a selection of Freud’s finest paintings, as well as numerous etchings. Ranging across six decades these works will focus on many of the artist’s key areas of interest, including paintings of the same person at different ages, self-portraits, and double portraits. With this extraordinary resource IMMA will create a centre for Freud research with a special programme of exhibitions, education partnerships and symposia that will maximise this important opportunity for Irish school children, third level students, artists and Irish audiences of all ages, examining what it means to have works like these in the public domain. The lengthy duration of the loan will mean that the audience can build a relationship with Freud, really get to know these works and understand how Freud painted. The evolving programme of curated exhibitions and events will allow us to explore, with our audiences, Freud’s role and legacy in 20th-century art and what these works mean today for contemporary art.

The Freud Project is a major addition to the IMMA Collection, and in 2016 we will also present IMMA Collection: A Decade, providing a snapshot of how the National Collection has developed over the past ten years. Works selected explore themes around memory, identity and place, questions of globalism, the environment and connectivity; from the local to the universal. Featured artists include Pierre Huyghe, Willie Doherty, Niamh O’Malley, Eva Rothschild, Dorothy Cross, Tim Robinson, Peter Hutchinson, Philip Taaffe, Howard Hodgkin, Maria Simonds Gooding, Amanda Coogan and others.

The exhibition highlights major acquisitions to the IMMA Collection during the last decade, and emphasises the importance of IMMA rebuilding resources to continue to purchase major Irish and international works for the nation. IMMA has not had an institutional acquisitions budget since 2011 and works such as Cape Siren (2008) by Philp Taaffe or Remains (2013) by Willie Doherty are just two key acquisitions that would not have been impossible without the generous support of donors.

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