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 programme of changing displays of artworks and archival material that will explore our sense of place, perception, representation and memory.Works by Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Anne Madden, Anita Groener, Michael Mulcahy, Donald Teskey, Tony O’Malley, Alexandra Wejchert, Bridget Riley and others variously explore pattern and line, surface, folds, enclosures, erasures, borders, terrain, the inherent coastal tensions between motion and stillness and any attempt to map what our senses perceive. Others such as Brian O’Doherty, Hamish Fulton, Tim Robinson and OMG collective variously engage photographic, linear, linguistic and coded systems to invoke a mind/body relationship.
A key work in the exhibition shown at IMMA for the first time is the monumental installation, Tabernacle (2013), an extraordinary work by Dorothy Cross in which a life-size currach forms the roof of a hut-like structure from which that opens towards a projection of her video Sea Cave (2013). Cross previously used the Currach as part of her set design for the English National Opera’s 2008 production of J.M. Synge’s haunting play ‘Riders to the Sea’, (1903) directed by Fiona Shaw.
The 1960s as a decade gets particular focus in the current exhibition. On the international art scene it was a time, much more than any other decade, that was highly energised. Each year saw a new movement surface: Pop, Op, Kinetic, Minimalism, Conceptual art amongst others. In Ireland at that time we saw the emergence of the first Rosc, in 1967, a series of six major exhibitions of international art that had a significant impact on contemporary art developments in Ireland. While Rosc ’67 was indeed a major showcase it was less about contemporary developments of the time than it was a catch-up survey of 20th century masterworks for the benefit of Irish and visiting international audiences. IMMA has been re-examining Rosc across the programme this year, and Coast-Linesprovides glimpses of some concurrent moments in the art world of the 1960s and ’70s with artworks and archival holdings that draw on the Gordon Lambert and Timothy Drever/Robinson archives in the IMMA Collection. .
A number of displays will include Irish artists who were working internationally in the late ’60s and ’70s such as Brian O’Doherty, James Coleman, Noel Sheridan and Anne Madden. A key work of the period is the ground breaking Aspen 5+6 (1967), a double issue of the experimental New York magazine, assembled, curated and edited by Brian O’Doherty. Known as ‘The Minimalism Issue’ it comprises a multimedia exhibition in a box, consisting of artworks, recordings and theoretical writings and is recognised as the first conceptual exhibition that did away with the gallery space. Delivered to subscribers in a two-piece white box containing 28 items, Aspen 5+6includes contributions by artists such as Robert Morris; Robert Rauschenberg; Mel Bochner; essays by Susan Sontag; Roland Barthes; sound recordings by Marcel Duchamp; William Borroughs; Jack McGowran’s recording of a text by Samuel Beckett; as well as music scores and DIY miniature cardboard sculptures.