News from Dublin Contemporary


Running for 8 weeks, September 6th through to October 31st, Dublin Contemporary 2011 is a highly ambitious exhibition to be staged in Dublin. A city-wide endeavor celebrating Dublin as a world-class venue for visual arts practice, it draws on the expertise of a renowned panel of curators and artist including Oliver Dowling (Independent visual art specialist, Dublin); Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London); Okwui Enwezor (curator, writer, and critic and former Dean of Academic Affairs, San Francisco Art Institute); Christine Macel (Chief Curator of Contemporary Art at the Centre Pompidou, Paris);

Enrique Juncosa (Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin); and Gerard Byrne (Artist).

It is envisaged that Dublin Contemporary will happen every five years and become an establish event on the calendar of leading international contemporary art exhibitions.

Taking its inspiration from James Joyce’s Ulysses, which chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during one ordinary day, (16 June 1904), Dublin Contemporary seeks to constitute a visual portrait of Dublin.

Using the city as a gallery, Dublin Contemporary 2011, a multi-venue exhibition, will present to Irish and international audiences a unique exhibition of contemporary art at strategic sites across Dublin city centre. The exhibition will be sited in the city’s landmark buildings, established museums and galleries, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, as well as other non art venues.

As such it will provide tangible links between venues, interconnecting the architectural fabric of the city and thus enhancing the visitor experience.

Dublin Contemporary 2011 will facilitate both education and a VIP programme, punctuated with a series of bespoke happenings running concurrently throughout the duration.


The chosen theme for the first edition of Dublin Contemporary is Silence. The concept of Silence holds a central place in the social, philosophical and artistic life of Ireland. This stretches back well over 1000 years when the monastic communities first tolled the Angelus to mark a set time during the day for contemplating the mysteries of life and death. Silence reigned while the bells tolled, an effect that usually occurs with the contemplation of art.

The exhibition will be a constellation of historical and contemporary works of art that celebrate and explore these dynamics of silence, both in art and life. Through installations, happenings, performances, films, readings, texts, an evolving online venue, conversations and collaborations and other events, the exhibition will challenge our perception of sounds and silences, and mark a radical departure from a cultural experience that is based primarily on the material and the visual.

Education Programme of Engagement

An Education programme which encourages public engagement with all aspects of the exhibition, a multi-discipline lecture series, community outreach and integration programmes and working alongside our key educational stakeholders National College of Art & Design and Trinity College.

“ Dublin Contemporary 2011 will celebrate excellence in contemporary art and will stimulate new ways of exploring art for both artists and the public.”

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