Speech by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, at opening of The Ethics of Scrutiny” exhibition as part of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project 2016 – 2021
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Distinguished Guests; ladies and gentlemen; I am delighted to be here with you this evening to join with the Chair David Harvey, Director Moling Ryan and artist Daphne Wright, curator of this exhibition, in welcoming you all to the launch of this exhibition “the Ethics of Scrutiny” which is part of the the Freud Project.
As Minister with responsibility for Culture, I am pleased to be here to officially launch this exciting exhibition and to highlight the Government’s ongoing commitment and support to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, a most valuable asset to have in our capital city.
Since my predecessor launched the Freud Project in October 2016, the exhibit has been experienced by over 60,000 people, over 750 people have attended talks and lectures, a monthly Freud reading group has been held and plans are in place for a major symposium in April of this year. It is certainly the case that IMMA have not stood still. Einstein reportedly noted that ‘creativity is contagious – pass it on’. The wide ranging programme that the surrounds the Freud project shows that IMMA has clearly taken up the creative baton and is passing it on. The attendance levels, which includes children and students, demonstrate the broad reach an artist such as Freud can have and we hope will stimulate more creativity in our communities.
It is also a testament to the valuable role played by IMMA in the cultural life of the country. There can be no doubting the importance of art and culture and IMMA fulfils a central role in enabling our citizens to engage with contemporary art in a manner that is inclusive, intriguing and inspiring. I particularly welcome the opportunities this offers to school children, third level students, teachers, artists and audiences of all ages to really get to know and experience the works of Freud.
In this fascinating new study and exhibit of Freud amongst other artists, writers and musicians, Daphne Wright has allowed us all to experience art at its finest, in a manner which is both progressive and retrospective, and I would like to pay special tribute to Daphne, herself a highly regarded artist, for her ongoing contribution to the arts in Ireland
This exhibition, in placing a number of Freud’s paintings alongside the work of others allows us all to experience a wide array of emotions. Freud, as one of the best-known and most highly-regarded British artists of recent times has seduced many with his realism. His paintings elicit as many differing opinions as there are brushstrokes on his portraits, and yet there is a common, near unanimous regard for Freud’s artistic skill and impact in the art world. Jerzy Kosinski once said that ‘the principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke. This is true of this exhibition as Daphne’s arrangement of Freud’s work with that of others will evoke yet more debate and thought.
When we look at the locations of previous solo exhibitions of Freud’s work, we see a list of the premier art institutions on the world stage. The Met and MoMa in New York, the National Portrait Gallery London, the Museo Correr of Venice and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris are just some of the galleries which have held solo exhibitions of Freud’s work. It is a tribute to the staff and facilities at IMMA that lenders were persuaded that that the Garden Galleries here at the Royal Hospital were a fitting venue for the exhibition.
I wish to express my thanks to Chair David Harvey and the Board at IMMA. I have great faith that under your guidance, IMMA will continue to thrive. My thanks also to the Current Director, Moling Ryan, previous director Sarah Glennie and all of the staff here who work to make this museum the success that it is.
The exhibition has been made possible by the generous loan of the works from private collections. The exhibition is of itself remarkable both in size and content.
Before I finish, I should say that I am mindful and appreciative of the vital role played by the corporate sector and individual philanthropists in partnering with Cultural Institutions such as the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the significance and importance of a vibrant and active friends and patrons programme cannot be underestimated. You all play an important part in the success of this exhibition.
Finally, it remains for me to say thank you, to the Freud Circle, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, patrons, sponsors, and supporters; and to all of you for supporting the Irish Museum of Modern Art, a national cultural institution of which we can all be proud. I hope you get an opportunity to witness and enjoy some of these wonderful works.