Kildare Village and IMMA announce programme of events and exhibitions
The collaboration will include a number of events and installations in Kildare Village, offering guests a chance to experience the collection in an alternative setting
Barry Flanagan’s drumming hare statue has made the journey to Kildare Village as part of the collaboration.
The short grass county boasts its fair share of elusive wildlife, but recent visitors to Kildare Village will be hard-pressed to miss its latest addition. Barry Flanagan’s drumming hare statue (pictured above), made the journey to Kildare Village from its home at Dublin’s Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) last month.
“It is a perfect work in terms of scale and impact,” says Johanne Mullan, Collections Programmer at IMMA, who was on-site for the relocation of The Drummer. “It was an achievement just to move it, the work is hollow and just under five meters so it had to travel upright. It was a huge undertaking, the base of the truck had to be lowered to clear the bridges and we had to drive very slowly up the motorway”.
Flanagan’s bronze piece is synonymous with IMMA, usually sitting outside the museum’s reception in Kilmainham and made the trip to Kildare Village as part of a new partnership between the retail park and museum. As well as sponsoring IMMA’s latest exhibition, Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age, Kildare Village has also become the temporary home to 13 pieces on loan.
“The Drummer is a flagship piece for us,” says Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections at IMMA. “It has physical presence, and it has humour. We have also lent a work by Dorothy Cross from our collection, The Saddle, which is a provocative piece that is placed indoors in the Kildare Village reception. Her work explores matters around gender and feminism, but always with this element of surrealist humour.”
While IMMA have a long-standing history of national and international loans, many of these tend to go to other galleries and art spaces. “There’s a lot of work involved in displaying these pieces outside of galleries,” says Kennedy. “We have to plan for every eventuality, from how people will interact with them, we have to consider the weather they’ll be exposed to outside, and the lighting they’ll be exposed to inside - but you can achieve the situation where you're meeting all your standards of presentation, and safety.”
Part of the appeal for the loan is the exposure to new audiences, suggests Mullan. “We have roughly 4,500 pieces in our collection, and finding opportunities to share them has been very important to me and to my work,” she says. “These are part of a national collection, and so there should be a sense of public ownership. Kildare Village has around 4 million visitors each year, so it is a massive amount of people who will see these works. Many people don't get the opportunity to visit galleries, or perhaps don't enjoy visiting them. But if there are spaces that they are comfortable and familiar with, then making the collection accessible to them there makes sense.”
A focus on public engagement with art is also key for Kennedy, who worked on an O’Connell Street display of Barry Flanagan’s bronze hares in 2006. “That project was hugely successful, the pieces looked amazing, there was no vandalism, and the street looked bereft once they were gone. These pieces were also displayed in Chicago, and Park Avenue in New York. They have such a wide appeal and it is so important to engage with an audience you wouldn't necessarily reach on a museum site.”
We see this as a real opportunity to showcase the National Collection to a wider audience
The collection at Kildare Village also includes several pieces on display indoors, including video works by Isabelle Nolan, and Rebecca Horn, and several pieces by the late abstract artist Patrick Scott. “We have quite a number of Scott’s works in the IMMA collection. He worked on paper and he also created these beautiful pieces on linen with gold leaf and white pigment ,and really subtly built up these gorgeous meditative works. And so we've lent one of those, Meditation Painting 28 (pictured below), along with some of his other works on paper,” says Kennedy.
As well as giving people an opportunity to enjoy pieces from the IMMA collection, Kildare Village will also host a series of workshops and events through the coming months, as an extension of IMMA’s in-house events. “We have a very active schools and public program that we have been internationally recognised for,” says Mullan. “Many people working in our visitor engagement team are artists themselves, so they would also facilitate workshops. It’s great to have new partners and ways to continue this work outside of IMMA.”
The line-up includes workshops aimed at adults, with a Paint and Prosecco event which promises step-by-step instruction while enjoying a glass of prosecco and nibbles, but also promises opportunities for everyone to get involved, with IMMA facilitators hosting workshops for children and teens through the mid-term break. Kildare Village will also put in place plans to extend IMMA’s Azure programme, which offers guided tours designed to support people with dementia and their families, through November.
IMMA Pop-Up Shop
An IMMA Pop-Up Shop will also be in place in Kildare Village; “we have all of our wonderful limited editions available there,” says Kennedy. “They are almost all by artists who have worked with us in the past and who've enjoyed their experience here, and they have donated limited edition prints for us to sell as a way of helping us fundraise for our programmes.”
The partnership and workshops at Kildare Village will run over the next six months, with more themed events and talks to be added to the schedule in the coming weeks. “We see this as a real opportunity to showcase the National Collection to a wider audience,” says Mullan, “and it is great to have new partners. Hopefully it'll be continued with work on other exhibitions and loans. It is exciting to see how it will develop in the future, this is the first part of hopefully a long relationship.”