As the title suggests, this exhibition is concerned with the human gaze; of the artist, the sitter or the viewer of the work. Gaze particularly asks us to examine relationships between the artist and the sitter, and also focuses on the representation of the nude and the oftentimes visceral portrayal of the body in art, particularly in Freud’s work. Unfolding over a series of three floors in the dedicated Freud Centre, the exhibition encourages the visitor to journey from room to room, allowing space for reflection, but always considering who is gazing at whom. At times you are sharing the viewpoint of the sitter, at times the artist, but you are always involved in a constant exchange between all three perspectives in the room; the viewer, artist and sitter.
Showing alongside works by Lucian Freud the exhibition includes work by Marina Abramoviæ, Stephan Balkenhol, Phil Collins, John Coplans, Dorothy Cross, Pauline Cummins, Albrecht Dürer, Ann Hamilton, Edward Hopper, Rebecca Horn, Annie Leibovitz, Mark Manders, Edward McGuire, Danny Osborne, Rembrandt, Thomas Ruff and Hannah Starkey, all drawn from the IMMA Collection.
IMMA Collection: Freud Project is a major five-year initiative for IMMA, where fifty-two works by painter Lucian Freud (1922-2011) have been lent to the museum’s Collection by private lenders. During this unique project, IMMA will present a series of Freud-related exhibitions each year.
Freud visited Dublin and Connemara in Ireland in the late 1940s, partly on a pilgrimage to Jack B.Yeats whom he considered the greatest living painter and later when married to Caroline Blackwood of the Guinness family. From the 1950s he connected with Irish artists such as Patrick Swift whose Dublin studio he used and Edward McGuire whose tutor he was at the Slade Art School, as well as the literary circle of Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, Brendan Behan, Anthony Cronin and their Soho milieu. An in depth account of Freud and Ireland will be explored through the Freud Project, including his close links with the other great figurative painter of the 20th century, Irish-born and London-based, Francis Bacon – his friend, mentor and great rival of thirty years and whose studio you can visit in Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane.