The rest of the day was devoted to various art exhibits. The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) was across from the Kilmainham Gaol. Located on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, its a a beautiful location with fantastic views and wonderful architecture.
Within the museum we saw both Sheela Gowda’s Open Eye Policy and Haroon Mirza’s “Are jee be?” Sheela Gowda’s exhibit was quite interesting. Her works consisted of very basic materials from India, with more often then not cow dung as her main medium. The sweet smell emanated throughout the exhibit but she was able to create some beautiful pieces of art with it. I truly enjoyed the tiny portraits of common folk she drew with it. The raw nature of her work exposing the underbelly of Indian society was truly powerful Like all art, words do no justice and it should be seen in person.
“Are jee be?” was a very entertaining exhibit that had us entranced for quite some time. Its an exhibit that plays off the visual of red green blue as well as light electronic sound. As you travel through the exhibit each room is transformed by the sound and lights from the previous rooms to culminate in an experience that triggers all of the senses. Trying to explain this is an impossible task so enjoy this video that I took of the exhibit.
After this I wandered over to the Hugh Lane Gallery, located just down the street from our hotel. The gallery contains one of the largest collections of contemporary art within Ireland. Among the plethora of artists were exhibits of Francis Bacon and a fantastic temporary exhibit by the sculptor Eva Rothfield. My favorite piece within the exhibit was titled “Half Sun”, a sun covered on the bottom by hanging black cloth and steel. It was reminiscent of apocalyptic art, a sun being eclipsed by a horrible unnatural darkness.
There were a few pieces of art throughout the Gallery that I truly enjoyed and spent quite some time examining and contemplating, but by far the one that grabbed my attention the most was “The Eve of Saint Agnes” by Harry Clarke. This beautiful piece of stain glass art was completed in 1924 and illustrates the poem of the same name written by John Keats.The poem tells of a maiden dreaming of her future husband on the Eve of St Agnes, the patron St. of Virgins. As she awakens from her dream she sees that the man from her dreams has stolen into her room. There hearts entwined they steal off into the night to live out a life together in the southern moors until death. It is a beautiful poem and this unique stain glass art is even more beautiful. Sitting in a dark room basking in the blueish glow coming from this art was truly a wonderful experience.