The Irish Museum of Modern Art's new temporary galleries are now open at Earlsfort Terrace, next door to the National Concert Hall. You will remember the venue from Dublin Contemporary. The new exhibition 'Time Out of Mind' opened on 31 May and I recently paid a visit there.
'Time Out of Mind' intends to engage art with science, in celebration with Dublin's status as the City of Science 2012. I was very intrigued by this, as connections between art and science, and one deriving inspiration from the other, are very high on my list of interests. The venue, as the former Medical School, is cited as being particularly appropriate for the theme. However, only a few of the installations directly explored these connections and I felt that there was scope and potential for a great deal more. Perhaps consequently, my favourite works of the exhibition explicitly reached out towards sciences. The initial calm of Cristina Iglesias's Untitled vegetation room shatters when the viewer realises that the apparent solid branches of trees and bushes are tentacles. Marie Foley's cabinets, of all the artworks here the most suited to the history of the building, speak of historical medicine cabinets or the cabinets of curiousities of Victorian gentlefolk. In Dust defying gravity, Grace Weir explores the old rooms and equipment of Dunsink Observatory from the perspective of dust floating and falling in the room. At the end of the video installation, the room and the dust all fade together into the orrery as a reminder that everything is part of the massive galactic dust, eternally swirling in the darkness of the universe.
The exhibition rooms themselves are well suited for their current purpose with their high ceilings, wooden floors, airiness and tall windows (where desired). However, although the introduction to the exhibition states that the layout follows an 'open composition' to encourage multiple readings and experiences, I found the lack of signage confusing. It was not immediately obvious where to go, and the exhibition rooms are not always very well distinguished from those intended for 'staff only' and the like. In the corridors, the viewer's gaze is drawn to signs advising of 'compressed gas' and 'fire exit only', rather than directions to exhibition rooms, which, in my opinion, interrupts the flow of the artistic experience. There is a balance to be struck between a freeform space and a completely unguided one.
The day I visited I also had a chance to explore the IADT First Year Visual Arts Practice exhibition, which was sadly available only for a few days and ended yesterday, 4 June. This collection of works by future artists was of very high quality and it would have been good to extend its availability to those who had perhaps left the city for the long weekend.
'Time Out of Mind' is joined by a number of talks, listed on the IMMA website. The exhibition and the talks are free.