The Keeper: To Have and To Hold

9 Feb – 14 Apr 2019

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of The Niland Collection, The Model proudly presents a major exhibition that considers art collections as interconnected repositories of thoughts and ideas. The Keeper: To Have and to Hold is an ambitious show that features over 130 artworks by 74 Irish and international artists. It presents more than 100 years of history reflected in artistic practice. The exhibition investigates the often hidden stories that lie at the heart of collections, and poses a series of open-ended questions as to why we are drawn to collect; what kind of knowledge a collection can encompass; and what can be lost if a collection is dispersed.

The Keeper considers these questions through three distinct strands of inquiry, the first of which features four works by distinguished international contemporary artists that ponder art historical narratives. In The Trick Brain, 2013, Ed Atkins reflects on the dispersal of the personal collection of the writer, theorist and co-founder of Surrealism, André Breton. Using footage from the DVD-ROM auction catalogue, and a specially composed and deliberately esoteric script, Atkins eulogises the loss of this unique collection and meditates on the ‘absurdity, melancholia and violence of bidding games at auction’.

In Elizabeth Price’s A RESTORATION, 2016, the artist considers the archive of images and documents relating to artefacts from Arthur Evans’ excavations at Knossos in Create, now held by the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums in Oxford. Through an examination of the documentation and interpretation of these items, the artist posits her own fictional reading of their history, set to melody and narrated by a ‘chorus’ of museum administrators.

Taus Makhacheva’s awe-inspiring work Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015 considers the precarious nature of artistic legacy. In the film, Rasul Abakarov, a fifth-generation tightrope walker, carefully carries copies of artworks from the collection of the Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts across a steep ravine and places each work into its allotted space in the museum racking system on the other side. This poetic metaphor questions the hazardous nature of art itself, and the film invites the viewer to consider this, in terms of what is accepted into the art historical canon and what gets left behind.

Loss and hope are at the heart of Susan Hiller’s poetic and poignant work The Last Silent Movie, 2007/2008. The work itself is a collection of sorts, documenting extinct and endangered languages, and gathered by this remarkable artist from a variety of archival sources. It speaks of the precarious nature of civilizations themselves, and reinforces the importance of the act of collecting, archiving and preserving.

Another central element of The Keeper will take the form of an ‘exhibition within an exhibition’ of the idiosyncratic private collection of curator and collector Jobst Graeve. The Graeve Collection can be viewed through the lens of the Folkwang principle that originated with Karl Ernst Osthaus in early twentieth century Germany. This advocated an approach to the arts as a unified whole, rather than divided into separate disciplines. Graeve’s collection includes the work of a host of Irish and international artists, designers, makers and performers, many of whom he has had longstanding relationships with since their early careers.

The final part of this eclectic exhibition sees the largest presentation to-date of work from The Niland Collection. Over 100 works are featured in a ‘salon-hang’, with highlights including works by Jack Butler Yeats, Norah McGuinness, Mary Swanzy, Paul Henry, Louis le Brocquy and many others. This part of the exhibition will remain open throughout 2019

Closing Event
The closing of The Keeper: To Have and to Hold will be marked by a very special evening celebration, featuring a Live Mix by artist John Gerrard from 8pm on Sat. 13 Apr.

Gallery Tours
Join The Model’s curators for informal discussions on the ideas that underpin The Keeper

6:30pm Sat. 9 Feb. Overview of The Keeper with Emer McGarry
1:30pm Wed. 27 Feb. The Folkwang Idea with Heike Thiele
1:30pm Wed. 13 Mar. Collections in Contemporary Art with Marie Louise Blaney
1:30pm Wed. 27 Mar. The Niland Collection with Shannon Re.

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