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Dublin Contemporary Opens in Earlsfort Terrace, 6 September

Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Architecture of Space

When Dublin Contemporary opens on 6 September, it will be the first time in many years for UCD architecture graduates to wander the halls of their undergraduate years.  Libraries, lecture halls, and class rooms are all being creatively adapted by designer Gordon Ryan into stimulating spaces for contemporary art.  Curated by Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné, the exhibition has adopted the theme:  ‘Terrible Beauty—Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance’.

The team is adopting a ‘less is more’ approach that reveres the patina of age. Gordon Ryan is enthusiastic about the opportunity offered by the space, saying that the invited artists are responding creatively to the layers of history and various levels of disrepair. “We often think that our public buildings aren't good till they're clean-lined and perfect, but there is a lot of excitement among the artists and curators about the deep sense of the building's cultural story." says Gordon.  The OPW are providing the space for Dublin Contemporary and Assistant Principal Architect, Klaus Unger, is delighted that the show will “add to the cultural and intellectual layering of the site and allow people to experience its peculiar spatial qualities”.

Curiously, the Earlsfort Terrace complex started life as an exhibition venue in 1865 when nearly one million visitors came to see the Dublin International Exhibition of Arts and Manufacturers. The purpose-built structure by architect Alfred Gresham Jones featured an elaborate Winter Garden alongside a central sculpture hall and concert venue.

In 1912 architect Rudolf Maximillian Butler was appointed to design new university buildings for UCD on the site. Butler’s teaching spaces are now featuring works by Wang Du, Jaki Irvine, Kader Attia, Kathryn Maguire, Mairead O’hEocha and others, while the memory of Earlsfort Terrace has been left exposed.  

Other venues for Dublin Contemporary 2011 include the Royal Hibernian Academy, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.



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