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"Singing the Real : Contemporary Irish Art"
2007-07-19 until 2007-09-30
Iziko-SA National Gallery
Cape Town, , ZA

'Singing the Real', an exhibition of contemporary Irish art organised by the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin runs at Iziko SA National Gallery, Cape Town, from 19 July until 30 September - the first project in an exchange between South Africa and Ireland, and between the RHA and Iziko Sang. Patrick T. Murphy, Director RHA explains. "Singing the Real is a multi-media, cross generational and gender diverse exhibition that explores the combination of scientific method and art practice that is an evident and strong strain in Irish art today. Observing, recording, describing, hypothesizing and analyzing are the empirical dynamics that underscore the artwork in this exhibition. As if by the co-option of empirical that the artist can directly engage the material, and indirectly the new materialism in Ireland, to establish new relationships with traditional values of the land and the community." The artists include Barrie Cooke, Dorothy Cross, Grace Weir, Susan Tiger, Cecily Brennan, Nick Miller, Neva Elliott, John Gerrard, Gary Phelan and Martin Healy.

Barrie Cooke and Dorothy Cross incorporate the natural sciences of biology and chemistry as they explore issues of pollution and behaviour that tacitly address the impoverishment of the spirit in the contemporary relationship to the land. Grace Weir, Cecily Brennan and Susan Tiger take the observational techniques of physics to underline the laws of nature, which imply a critique of our more socially controlled and determined environment. Nick Miller challenges optics in his attempts to accurately paint the landscape as it is outside of the lyrical tradition of painting in Ireland and the trope of the picturesque. Neva Elliott and Gary Phelan employ the quasi-scientific approach of quantitive analysis to expose some of the volatile seams opening in the social fabric of the country. John Gerrard subverts the fantasy of computer virtual reality by introducing qualities of time and mortality. And Martin Healy in his anthropological stance questions the need for myth in contemporary society.

The exhibition will include two video projections, two installations, two monitor pieces, four photographic light boxes, four framed photographs, ten drawings and ten paintings.

Since 2000 the RHA has developed strong links with several institutions outside of Ireland including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel, the Haus der Kunst, Munich, Kunsthalle Krefeld, MAC in Ghent, Arcadia Art Gallery in Pennsylvania, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Parasol Unit in London and now the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town. Such collaborations increase the reach of the Academy's links considerably and create conduits for Irish artists to gain recognition abroad. The exchange affords the Iziko Sang to showcase contemporary South African art in Ireland.

The exhibition is supported by Culture Ireland.

IMAGE
John Gerrard,
Smoke Tree III, 2006,
real-time 3D,
117 x 68 x 53 cm /variable,
Collection Hilger Contemporary, Vienna.


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