Thursday 23 January 2020

8 exciting exhibitions to check out across the country in 2020

Coming home: Eva Rothschild's sculptures are to be shown at IMMA
Coming home: Eva Rothschild's sculptures are to be shown at IMMA

Hilary A White

A healthy mixture of historical names and contemporary conscience is to be found in the art listings for this year, and this seems to be a trend right the way across the country. Big hitters like Mondrian and Rembrandt are naturally up in lights and eagerly awaited, but art is a heartbeat that carries on regardless. Upcoming exhibitions exploring issues of the environment, borders and migrancy are reminders that artists are primarily here to reflect the discussions that we are having about the state of the world, both within ourselves and to each other.

The Sea Around Us

The Model, Sligo (February 29 - March 31)

Visual and performance art come together in this large-scale group exhibition at the Model that takes a variety of angles towards our deep and complex ties with the seas. This is a good moment to do so. Film, sound, participation and essay are among the media being incorporated by a selection of international artists, all of whom know that in today's Anthropocene the ocean is as much a battleground as it is a harvest.

In Transit

Crawford Gallery, Cork (March 6 - May 4)

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People are on the move, whether by choice or forced through the shifting sands of conflict or economics. This multi-disciplinary ensemble show explores what it is like to live somewhere that is neither one thing nor the other, a temporal zone between home and hope. A fascinating spectrum of emotions will be fed into these works, from sadness and terror to apathy, boredom and renewal - a timely thing given the recent unease about direct provision.

Irish Horse

Beit Wing, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (April 25 - August 16)

Revered in Irish culture since God was a girl, the place of our equine friends in the viewfinder of this island's artists (18th century to present) is the subject of this major exhibition at Merrion Square. Jack B Yeats incorporated horse symbolism often, while William Orpen depicted them in their noble working incarnations, and Basil Blackshaw, Alfred James Munnings and Kim Haughton are also set to feature. Tickets available at

World Without End

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

(April 30 - August 2)

It seems that we can't escape the issue of borders and dividing lines these days, what with talk of walls, trade agreements and refugee caravans clogging up the newsfeed. This ensemble exhibition will look to reflect this narrative of 'borderisation' that has swept both political and psychological terrains. A diverse array of artists from all cultures and backgrounds is a point of particular interest here.

Rembrandt in Print

Crawford Gallery, Cork (May 22 - August 23)

After a bumper year that saw 250,000 visitors, this exhibition of 50 works from the Ashmolean Museum's 200-strong collection is a coup for the Cork institution and evidence it is not resting on its laurels. Featuring prints and etchings from the Dutch master (ranging from 1630 to 1650), these promise to show Rembrandt's sensitivity for the everyday and domestic, as well as his lofty technical skills and narrative nous. www.crawfordart


Jack Butler Yeats: Painted Universe

The Model, Sligo (June 6 - August 16)

Where better to savour the works of Jack B than in the heart of Yeats Country itself? Cherry-picked from the illustrious Niland Collection will be this presumably splendid array of works by the great Irish expressionist, taking in the pen-and-ink illustrations and watercolours of his early years, to the shimmering, kinetic oils of his zenith period. Not a bad time of year for a trip west either, says you.

The Shrinking Universe - Eva Rothschild

IMMA, Dublin (June 12 - October 11)

The Dún Laoghaire native's works were first shown as the national representation for Ireland at the Venice Biennale last year, and it is with a sense of anticipation that they now make their way home to Dublin. Known for their contemplative energy and quirky inhabitation of space, these are sculptures in name alone, with many taking on the guise of installations that immerse you within their very material presence.


Beit Wing, National Gallery (October 3 - January 10, 2021)

At long last, the great De Stijl purveyor Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) comes to Ireland for what should be an absorbing retrospective taking in his early landscape years right through to the minimalist geometry he is best known for. On loan from the Hague's Kunstmuseum, the Dutch heavyweight will be joined by fellow De Stijl stars Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck and Gerrit Rietveld. Tickets available at

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