Slow Looking with IMMA

Fergus Martin, Barrel, 2020. Photo Ros Kavanagh.

For International Sculpture Day, The Irish Museum of Modern Art encouraged us to take a closer look at the sculptures on display in the IMMA gardens.

They shared a recent series of videos they produced about works in their collection: The Slow Looking Art Series.

The Slow Looking Art Series is presented by members of the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Learning and Engagement Team. The series of ten online video’s was funded by Creative Ireland as part of the Museum’s Art and Ageing programme. The title invites the audience to take a very slow long look at the artwork in question and consider their own individual response to the piece.

Through this series of ten accessibly produced (captioned, audio-described) videos, participants are invited to watch a guided exploration of a selected artwork from the IMMA Collection both within the Museum walls and outdoors on the ground of the historic Royal Hospital Kilmainham site. Although originally produced for older audiences, the team have found that the easy melodic pace of the videos is being enjoyed by young and old alike.

For International Sculpture Day, IMMA shared videos about four outdoor works which can be visited in their gardens.

Fergus Martin, Barrel, 2020

Irish artist Fergus Martin attended the Dun Laoghaire School of Art from 1972 to 1976. He then lived in Italy between 1979 and 1988. Encompassing paint, sculpture and photography, Martin’s visual art practice considers ideas of space, form, material and the surrounding environment. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is represented in significant public and private collections, including Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; the Arts Council of Ireland and the Office of Public Works. Martin is an elected member of Aosdána.

Barry Flanagan, The Drummer, 1996

While Barry Flanagan has also made sculptures of other animals, such as elephants and horses, he is best known for his triumphant leaping and dancing hares. Flanagan’s sculptures are by no means restricted by the use of this repeated motif; each hare being unique with its own dynamic gesture. Always celebratory and life-affirming, they dance, use technical equipment, engage in sports and, as we see here, play musical instruments. 

The hands-on process of modelling in clay allows the artist to invest the work with a dynamic sense of movement. The piece is cast in bronze, but the marks made by the artist’s hand are evident and as a result, the surface has a tactile quality. The work has a spontaneous feel, echoing the speed of drawing, the freedom of modelling in clay, and the curiosity and playfulness of the hare itself.

Bernar Venet, 217.5° Arc x 12, 2008

French conceptual artist Bernar Venet (born 1941) studied at the Villa Thiole, the municipal art school of Nice. In 1974 he taught Art and Art Theory at the Sorbonne, Paris and represented France at the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil. His extensive exhibition history includes Documenta VI and the Venice Biennale in 1977. Venet has received numerous awards including the 1989 Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris. In 1996 he was awarded ‘Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres’ by the Minister of Culture in France, and in 2005 was named ‘Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur’, France’s highest decoration.

Ulrich Ruckriem, 8 Limestones cut to a specific size from rough blocks 150 x 50 x 50cm split into parts and reassembled into their original form, 1988

Ulrich Rückriem (born 1938) is a German sculptor noted for his monumental works. He trained as a stonemason and began to work as a free lance artist from 1963. Strongly influenced by minimalism, Rückriem’s sculptural works celebrate geometric form, while retaining marks of the artist’s tools and the natural structural lines of the stone. Rückriem lived in Clonegal, Co. Clare, for thirteen years from 1988 to 2001. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Museum Ludwig, Köln; the Sprengel Museum, Hanover, and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin.