Vajiko Chachkhiani: Winter which was not there

Until 8 December 2019

Vajiko Chachkiani’s film Winter which was not there (2017) is presented at the Crawford Art Gallery to coincide with Recasting Canova, our bicentenary celebration of the Canova Casts, the prestigious gift that forms the basis of the gallery’s collection. 

Vajiko Chachkiani works in film, object making and installations delving into human perception and the culture of remembrance, between the reality of the outside world and the inner human psyche. In Winter which was not there, a man watches a sculpture of a man being hoisted out of the sea. Though the subject of the sculpture is not identified, the classic heroic monument bares a strange, somewhat uncanny likeness to the man watching the event. The stone figure is then attached to the man’s truck and a strange narrative ensues as we watch the middle aged man drive, until dusk, through landscapes and ultimately urban settings, alongside his vigilant dog.  In Chachkhiani’s film the sculptural object is the protagonist, we watch in curious disbelief as this stoic character is mercilessly ‘disassembled’. 

Winter which was not there can be viewed as a metaphor for the liberation of an individual from his or her own history, but in doing so asks if one can ever be free from one’s image and past, which ultimately informs how we interact in the present.  It also raises wider societal questions of why historical figures are canonised through the medium of art, and what is the impact on the individual when history eats itself and iconic political and cultural sculptures become obsolete. How does the public and the private sphere interfere with and influence our consciousness?

Vajiko Chachkhiani (born 1985 in Tbilisi, Georgia) lives and works in Berlin. Solo exhibitions include: Kunstverein, Dresden (2019); SCAI The Bathhouse Gallery, Tokoyo; Georgian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Germany (2014), State Museum of Literature, Tbilisi, Georgia (2013). Group exhibitions include: Arondit Offspace, Paris (2019); Pinakothek der Moderne, München; 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2017), Carré d’Art–Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes (2017) and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (2015). Vajiko Chachkhiani is represented by Daniel Marzona, Berlin and Scai, The Bathhouse, Tokyo. 

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DREAMING IN BLUE: Harry Clarke Watercolours

14 December 2018 –
17 February 2019

Modern Galleries, Screening Room
& Harry Clarke Room

In 1923, Ireland’s ‘strangest genius’ Harry Clarke (1889-1931) accepted a private commission for a stained glass window. For this, he suggested a number of subjects from which his client, Harold Jacob of Jacob’s Biscuits, selected “The Eve of St Agnes” by John Keats (1795-1821).

Inspired by the poet’s evocative poem, Clarke wrote to Jacob: ‘I shall set to work on The Eve of St Agnes and submit my first coloured draft for discussion.’ Creating a series of ethereal studies in pencil, watercolour, and gouache, the artist carefully thought out his design before committing his vision to glass. This exhibition presents eighteen of these delicate preparatory works together in sequence for the first time in many years.

Clarke’s source, “The Eve of St Agnes” (1819), follows the dreamlike romance of Madeline and Porphyro on the moonlit eve of the feast of St Agnes (20 January). Accompanying his works is a vivid interpretation of this long narrative poem by actor Fiona Shaw, specially commissioned for the exhibition.

Visitors also have the opportunity to consider Clarke’s watercolours in the context of other commissioned work from the period. Included in this display are two small booklets – The History of a Great House (1924) and The Elixir of Life (1925) – illustrated by Clarke for the Dublin-based distillers, John Jameson & Son (Courtesy of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard).

Enter the imagination of one of Ireland’s favourite artists!

Curated by Dr Michael Waldron

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EARTH, WIND & FIRE: Made in Cork Contemporary

23 November 2018–
17 February 2019

Click here to download the brochure from the exhibition.

From ancient processes to new (machine) technologies, the exhibition Earth, Wind and Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary will showcase the work of Nuala O’Donovan, Eoin Turner, Alex Pentek, Mary Palmer / Anne Kiely and Joseph Walsh. 6 Cork-based contemporary artists whose artistic practice exemplifies excellence in craftsmanship. Curated by Anne Boddaert, the curatorial focus of the exhibition is to illuminate the synergetic relationship between artistic excellence and technical skill. The exhibition will take place in both the Upper and Lower Galleries, thereby offering space for the distinctly individual artistic voices of those who have been invited to exhibit.

In 2016, the exhibition Made in Cork: the Arts and Crafts Movement from the 1880s to the 1920s examined the Arts and Craft movement and its influence in Ireland. Building on that knowledge, Earth, Wind, and Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary picks up on the theme, at the same time, the exhibition will demonstrate the nature and extent of the stimulating, exhilarating, and exciting work that is being made by Cork-based artists in the twenty-first century. A Learn and Explore Programme and a wide-reaching marketing programme will be designed to attract a broad range of audiences to engage with the exhibition.

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With support from Arup

Heroes and Villains

Until 14 April 2019

Gibson Galleries and The Long Room

“Give me the good old days of heroes and villains. The people you can bravo or hiss.”
– Bette Davis, The Lonely Life (1962)

At a time when we are unsure of who or what to trust, it can perhaps be tempting to return to the certainties of the past, the archetypal heroes and villains of our children’s stories and the simplicity of hindsight.

HEROES & VILLAINS, a selection of works from the collection, explores the archetypes of good and bad characters, and the middle ground between them. While some heroes and villains are easily identifiable through certain recognisable traits, it is often the case that these categories are not so self-contained. Depending on the contexts of time and place, someone who is once celebrated as a hero may be transformed into a villain or vice versa. Indeed, these shifting contexts can act as formative influences, with artists and writers alike recognising the power of settings and scenarios on the decisions we make.

From fallen heroes and reformed villains to accidental heroes, heroes of the moment, and villains for all time, this exhibition showcases a wide variety of real or imagined figures and the many ways that artists have celebrated or presented the shades of good or bad in all of us.

Curated by Anne Boddaert and Michael Waldron

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Andrew Kearney / Mechanism

15 March–26 May 2019

Mechanism is a light and sound installation responsive to the environment by artist Andrew Kearney, comprising of electronic, industrial and theatrical components that combine to respond, listen and react to the everyday life of Cork city centre where the gallery is located.

The installation features three new works which the artist has created specifically for the Crawford Art Gallery and continue Kearney's exploration of the layered history of people and buildings. 
Mechanism continues Kearney’s evolving work that builds on his exploration of the layered experience of space. He scrutinizes how buildings function within a given landscape, how people circulate through spaces and the historical and contemporary power relations that underpin the evolution of architecture[1].
For Andrew Kearney, his interest lies with what the work does – always regenerating, never predetermining, constantly seeking new information to create new sounds and visual possibilities.

[1] Joanne Laws, The Permeable Institution-A response to Andrew Kearney’s ‘Mechanism’ at the Dock, 2017

You can download a four-page booklet on the exhibition here (PDF 463kb).

A text by Katherine Waugh on the exhibition is available to download here

Center Culturi Irlandes
The Dock
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Mary Swanzy: Voyages

15 March–3 June 2019

Mary Swanzy (1882-1978) was a pioneering figure in Irish Art who witnessed the birth of Modern Art and after 1914 exhibited at the Paris Salons alongside those artists who are now household names.

She mastered the academic style of painting at a young age and her work rapidly evolved through different styles: Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Symbolism and Surrealism; each of these interpreted and transformed by her in a highly personal way.

Over 70 works will be on display in this fascinating exhibition, initiated by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and curated by Seán Kissane. The exhibition aims to reintroduce audiences to the artist’s extraordinary achievements and reinstate her as a Modern Irish Master.

You can download a booklet for the exhibition here. (PDF 4.5mb).

You can download a PDF file (648kb) of Mary Swanzy related events in the Crawford Gallery here.

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Ailbhe Ni Bhriain: Great Good Places

22 March–9 June 2019

Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s mesmeric series of films Great Good Places (2011) is presented at the Crawford Art Gallery to coincide with Recasting Canova which celebrates the bicentenary of the Canova Casts, the prestigious gift that forms the basis of the gallery’s collection. 

Borrowing its title from the Henry James short story ‘The Great Good Place’ this series of films draws on the slippage between dream and reality captured in the story and its strange atmosphere - at once mundane and hallucinatory. James’s Great Good Place is an impossible but obscurely familiar refuge to which the overworked and the overwhelmed find themselves magically transported. Ní Bhriain reimagines a series of generic settings and specific locations including the Crawford Art Gallery’s Sculpture Galleries as such sites of suspension and displacement.  Using a combination of simple collage devices and computer generated imagery, she constructs new hybrid-places; these draw on an odd, associative logic to interrupt our ready-made relationship with certain archetypal locations and remind us of the essential make-believe of representation. In a sense this work proposes the image itself as a Great Good Place - a displaced elsewhere and an imaginative escape. 

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THAT ABRUPT MAGNIFICENCE Jonathan Fisher’s Views of Killarney

23 February – 12 June 2019

Killarney has long captured the imagination of visitors and residents alike, from early Christian settlements in the seventh century to the emergence of tourism 250 years ago.

In 1770, Jonathan Fisher (1740-1809) was the first artist to produce a series of views of this County Kerry landscape when he painted six picturesque scenes of Killarney and its environs. These were subsequently reproduced as engravings which helped to develop the town, lakes, and mountains as a tourist destination, a project begun by Thomas Browne (1726-1795), 4th Viscount Kenmare.

Nearly two decades later, Fisher returned to compile a more ambitious portfolio of aquatint engravings entitled A Picturesque Tour of Killarney, describing in twenty views the most pleasing scenes of that celebrated Lake, etc. etc., (1789). These views, dedicated to the artist’s friend and patron John Dawson (1744-1798), 1st Earl of Portarlington, are presented in this exhibition.

Jonathan Fisher is thought to have begun his working life as a woollen-draper in The Liberties area of Dublin, before taking up his artistic career in the 1760s. He consistently exhibited his paintings and engravings, which were primarily devoted to Irish landscapes. He lived at Ship Street, Dublin with his wife Martha Price, the daughter of a Cork merchant, and supplemented their incomewith the post of Supervisor of Stamps at the Stamp Office on Eustace Street, from 1778 until his death in 1809.

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Win a 1-night stay at the beautiful Great Southern Killarney hotel and a €100 Voucher for Crawford Gallery Café

Simply send us your artistic views of Killarney by 9 June 2019 and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter)

5 lucky runners-up will also receive books from our shop!

This competition runs in conjunction with
THAT ABRUPT MAGNIFICENCE Jonathan Fisher’s Views of Killarney until 9 June

Great Southern Killarney hotel Logo

The best entries will be shared on our social media channels. The overall winning entry and recipient of the Grand Prize will be announced after the final closing date on 9 June.


21 June–22 September 2019

This new artist-directed programme aims to support artists to pursue their current research interests and connect with audiences through a collaboration with the Crawford Art Gallery, it’s site, collection and location. The programme aims to platform the development of an artist’s career and its often intrinsic relationship with the institution. 

Marianne Keating’s current work addresses the hidden histories of the Irish diaspora in the Caribbean, through narratively reconstructing this history through its archival traces. Her multi-media installation will focus on the movement of the Irish indentured labourers and emigrants in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century to Barbados and Jamaica and their resulting legacies in the contemporary Caribbean. Tracing the migration of the Irish from ports including Cork, Limerick and Belfast, Keating’s project will explore the eighteenth-century role of the Customs House - where the Crawford Art Gallery is now located - to determine new narratives around the Irish diaspora in response to the dominant ‘master narratives’ of Western nationhood, rewriting the histories of the dominated ‘other’.

Marianne Keating is an Irish artist currently based between Ireland and London. Recent exhibitions include New Contemporaries, South London Gallery and as part of the Liverpool Biennial; Arrivants: Art and Migration in the Anglophone Caribbean World, Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Bridgetown, Barbados; Between Us And, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2018) and forthcoming exhibitions include Another Land: Experimental Visualisations of Place, Stanley Picker Gallery/ Kingston Museum, London (2019).

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EVERYTHING OF THAT TIME MIGHT SOON END Between the Wars: The Gibson Bequest

Until 24 November 2019

Offering curious insights into the art market this exhibition focuses on the collecting practices of the Gibson Bequest Committee during the period 1930-1940.

Reflecting their different geographic origins, the works displayed are grouped according to the various art dealers from whom they were sourced. The process of acquisition involved a panel of Expert Advisers who - through their knowledge and networks - identified such works and, in turn, recommended them for purchase to the Gibson Bequest Committee. The resulting selection provides a window into the priorities, urgencies, and mobility of interwar collecting.

Included in the exhibition are works by leading artists of the period – Sir William Orpen, Seán Keating, and Philip Wilson Steer – as well as influential and innovative printmakers – Robert Austin, Mabel Royds, John Copley and Iain Macnab. Each artwork speaks to its present time or to one that was fading (or had faded) from view.

Although speaking about novels, writer Elizabeth Bowen described works made in the interwar period (1919-1939) as reflective of "the pre-war time with its high tension, its increasing anxieties, and this great stress on individualism. People were so conscious of themselves, and of each other, and of their personal relationships because they thought that everything of that time might soon end."

Curated by Dr. Michael Waldron

A companion to this exhibition, The Gibson Bequest, 1919-2019: Selecting, Collecting & Philanthropy, may be visited on Floor 1 until 12 January 2020.

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Will Sliney Superhero Takeover

1-28 October 2019

In October, award-winning comic book artist Will Sliney will take over the gallery, transforming it into a world of legends and superheroes, bound to inspire comic book fans of all ages, budding illustrators, and anyone who dares to dream big! Featuring some of his work from Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn and from Marvel comics, witness supernatural feats of strength, ferocious battles, and tragic destinies as Will transforms our Seen And Heard play-space with a cast of larger-than-life heroes.

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