“Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age”

at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

Dates: September 21, 2019–March 22, 2020
Location: Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Royal Hospital Kilmainham Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland

More information on the IMMA website

Spanning over a hundred years, Desire: A Revision follows the development of desire through the lens of the Eurocentric male gaze and its influence in shaping artistic depictions in contemporary culture—across the world. A selection of masterworks from the 20th century—from artists such as Duchamp, Ernst and Magritte, sit alongside new commissions and contemporary work—by artists including Matthew Barney, Tracey Emin, Genieve Figgis and Yayoi Kusama, tracing desire from the historical canon to present-day digital transformations. Desire: A Revision resists becoming a comprehensive survey that traces the role of art and desire. Instead, it presents perspectives from a range of unique viewpoints in over 100 works, many of which have never been seen in Ireland before. It extends beyond the gallery space with newly commissioned performances by Eddie Peake and Elaine Hoey—alongside a programme of events and talks taking place during the exhibition.

From the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, we have witnessed major shifts in how we collectively conceive of desire, owed both to changes in how we perceive subject/object and individuality, as well as mechanisms of modern information capitalism that continue to dislocate desire from the realm of the internal to that of external forces. The “pro” mindsets of product, promotion, productivity belie the sense of acceleration and external projection of our contemporary reality. Within this loss of desire’s inner agency, the artists in this exhibition help us re-manifest the internal imaginary realms and landscapes of desire.

Curatorial statement by Yuko Hasegawa

Featured artists within the exhibition include Matthew Barney, Frank Bowling, Lee Bul, Oisín Byrne, Helen Chadwick, Dorothy Cross, David Douard, Marcel Duchamp, Justine Emard, Tracey Emin, Awol Erizku, Max Ernst, Cao Fei, Genieve Figgis, Ann Maria Healy, Elaine Hoey, Juliana Huxtable, James Joyce, Bharti Kher, Jonah King, Seiha Kurosawa, Yayoi Kusama, René Magritte, Koji Nakazono, David O’Reilly, Eddie Peake, Tschabalala Self, Patrick Staff, Mickalene Thomas and VALIE EXPORT.

Desire: A Revision is curated by, Rachel Thomas, Senior Curator, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA and Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo / Professor of Department of the Arts Studies and Curatorial Practices, Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts.

Installation view of works by Lee Bul. Foreground: Excavation, 2007. Background: Untitled Yet, 2018. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Installation view of works by Helen Chadwick, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte. Left to Right: Max Ernst, Oiseau-tete (“Bird-Head”), 1934-35; Rene Magritte, Le Miroir magique (“The Magic Mirror”), 1929; Helen Chadwick, Wreath to Pleasure 11, 1992-3; Helen Chadwick, Wreath to Pleasure 12, 1992-3; Helen Chadwick, Agape, 1989; Helen Chadwick, Solar Anus, 1989; Max Ernst, Correspondances dangereuses (“Dangerous Correspondences”), 1947. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Installation view of works by Genieve Figgis (foreground), Koji Nakazono (background). Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Installation view of Bharti Kher, And all the while the benevolent slept, 2008. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Installation view of Seiha Kurosawa, Desiring Unspeakable Entropy, 2019. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Installation view of David O’Reilly, Everything, 2017. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Still from Cao Fei, Live in RMB City, 2009. Machinima, 24 minutes 50 seconds. Courtesy the artist and Vitamin Creative Space.

Installation view of works by David Douard, WE, 2016 (left wall), Bharti Kher, Blind matter, dark night, 2017 (right wall), Dorothy Cross, Fingertip Pearl and Tooth Pearl, 2011 (center). Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Installation view of Yayoi Kusama, Where the Lights in My Heart Go, 2016, Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Matthew Barney, Ballad of the Bullfighter, 2014. Engraved brass in brass frame, 37.5 x 31.4 x 3.8 cm (framed).