Eileen Gray: Architect Designer Painter has launhced at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, a collaborative exhibition with Paris’s Pompidou Centre which celebrates the life work of one of Ireland’s greatest exports of the 20th century. Luckily, the exhibition runs until the 19th January – you’re going to want to spend a lot of time exploring here.
1. The Makeover
The Eileen Gray exhibition marks Irish Museum of Modern Art’s return to its splendid grounds, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. IMMA has been holidaying in another fantastic building in Dublin city centre, the National Concert Hall, for the last year while giving its Kilmainham headquarters a makeover (while finding time to throw Blur’s only concert of the year this summer past). Given Gray’s penchant for design and architecture, this is the perfect opportunity to explore the buildings and grounds of the country’s flagship contemporary art gallery.
2. The New School
Running alongside the Gray exhibition is In The Line of Beauty, a showcase of cutting edge Irish contemporary artists examining, fittingly, the beauty of objects. Including artists like Aleana Egan, Sam Keogh and Oisín Byrne, pop into this exhibition after Eileen Gray for a survey of what Irish art looks like right now. (A hint: it looks very, very good).
3. The Film Treatment
A feature film about Gray, starring Alanis Morrisette of all people, is about to be released. Gray’s life was sometime like a high art soap opera, which can unfortunately overshadow her legacy. This exhibition will give you the chance to get your facts straight before the film’s release, in case you get distracted by all that talk of Nazis using her walls for target practice and Le Corbusier’s bizarre erotic murals painted all over it.
4. The Modern World
Gray offered a human spin on Modernism, which may explain why her architecture and designs stand the test of time. While the cold functionality of design at the time fell out of trend, the personal spin Gray put on her work is given context through an exhibition like this. A work like her adjustable glass table may seem austere at first glance, but when you learn that it was invented to stop her sister from spilling crumbs all over her bed it becomes something any toast-eater in the world can associate with.
5. Give me more!
There’ll be a plethora of talks and events happening throughout the exhibition, which you can keep your eye on at the IMMA website. The National Museum of Ireland houses a permanent collection of her work, and this exhibition is the perfect excuse to visit the Francis Bacon studio in the Hugh Lane Gallery (Bacon was one of the many artists influenced by Gray). Irish critic and Cabinet magazine editor Brian Dillon has an excellent and entertaining introduction to Gray’s work over here.
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