Main Gallery

Images Are All We Have

Images are all we have

Launch 7th July 2022
Running 8th July-25th August 2022

Images Are All We Have traces the thematic development of the photographic discipline and contextualises the historical background, bringing together the diverse and socially engaged set of contemporary art practices that define Contemporary Irish Photography today. This survey exhibition on the discipline involves artists spanning several generations, practices, and backgrounds, and will include video installations by Alan Butler and Eamonn Doyle, and a screening room presenting a schedule of video works. The exhibition also assimilates the works of this year’s selected RADAR artists — PhotoIreland’s Research and Development Artist Residency drawing from all Photography degrees of Ireland, from Diploma to MA, showcases photographic projects by five recent graduates.

PhotoIreland frames this ambitious exhibition within the second instalment of the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland — a public-facing research project run by PhotoIreland since 2019 that aims to investigate the ideal prototype space to actively engage with Visual Culture and Critical Thinking today. Spread across a generous 2000m², visitors can access a set of exhibitions and video installations introducing many works, some well-known and some never exhibited before, while tracing a history that sees the transformation of a technology into a fully matured artistic practice.

Featured Image: Francis in his Binder, from the series No Queer Apologies, Niamh Barry

With thanks to:

Images Are All We Have traces the thematic development of the discipline and contextualises its historical background, bringing together the diverse and socially engaged set of contemporary art practices that define Irish Photography today. It proposes new ways to understand and celebrate the discipline; structured around a set of themed galleries, visitors are invited to tease out new connections between narratives depicted, as much as to gain a broader understanding and appreciation of the practices presented.

British Documentary had an immense influence on Irish photographic practice in the 1980’s, with figures such as Paul Graham being repeatedly mentioned by photographers as a key figure. His work ‘Troubled Land’ offered a new approach to photographers otherwise exhausted of the abused photojournalist strategy that from the late 1960s was almost exclusively used to describe Northern Ireland.

This new way of observing, representing, and narrating brought together the bucolic and the critical, sharing frame in a calm and conscious reflection of the everyday life; the photographer replaced the space usually dedicated to sensationalism to allow for meditation, for pause, and for deeper engagement. Images then became quiet, still, charged with meaning, and misleadingly simple.

Irish photographers triple-distilled the imported practice and over time expanded their subject matters to other conflicts, other lands, other peoples. The evolution of Photography in Ireland is in great part to be credited to these photographers, who later in the 1990’s initiated the BA programmes that had provided the practice as a University degree since. Taught more often than not with a mixed approach between profession and Arts practice, it generated a creative and critical space where new practices thrived.

In addition, the European single market, the advent of the Internet, and the EU’s deregulation of the air industry that facilitated the Ryanair boom, together intensified a transformation towards the wealth of practices that constitute Photography in Ireland today, represented here with over 300 artworks by 200 artists.

The ambitious survey highlights a selection of works on loan from several National Collections and Archives, from private collections, from the artists themselves, as much as many newly created work exhibited here for the first time and it involves artists spanning several generations, practices, and backgrounds.

In producing this edition, PhotoIreland has consulted and collaborated with many key individuals, organisations, archives and repositories. Together, they constitute the broad and rich ecosystem that supports Photography in Ireland.

The rather unusual inward look of this edition offers a glimpse to PhotoIreland’s ongoing research on the subject initiated in 2017, and it comes to celebrate the discipline and all its agents, from the artists to the organisations involved – a new online resource will provide unlimited access to the research and a publication kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland is expected early next year.

In this way, PhotoIreland applies its open and collaborative research practice to provide a complete and all-inclusive set of materials that will serve as a legacy in support of the artists, the practice, and the audience.

Artists: Aarif Amod, Abigail O’Brien, Adrian Wojtas, Aidan Kelly, Ailbhe Greaney, Ailbhe Ni Bhriain, Aindreas Scholz, Aisling Kane, Aisling Keavey, Aisling McCoy, Ala Buisir, Alan Butler, Alan Phelan, Alisha Doody, Amelia Stein, Amy O’Riordan, Amy Walsh, Anna Rackard, Anthony Haughey, Aoife Herrity, Aoife Shanahan, Austin Hearne, Ayesha Ahmad, Barney McMonagle, Becks Butler, Benjamin Malcolmson, Bill Rolston, Billy Kenrick, Brendan Murphy, Brian Cooney, Brian Teeling, Cait Fahey, Caitriona Dunnett, Catarina Leone, Cecil Newman, Chad Alexander, Christine Redmond, Ciaran Dunbar, Ciaran Óg Arnold, Clare Gallagher, Clare Lyons, Conor Horgan, Daniel Breen, Daniel Holfeld, Dara McGrath, Daragh Soden, Darn Thorn, David Copeland, David Farrell, David Killeen, David McIlveen, David Monahan, David Thomas Smith, Debbie Castro, Dennis Dinneen, Dianne Whyte, Diego Fabro, Dominic Turner, Donovan Wylie, Dorje de Burgh, Doug DuBois, Doug Soubey, Dragana Jurisic, Eamon Melaugh, Eamonn Doyle, Eanna De Freine, Elaine Byrne, Elius Grace, Emilia Rigaud, Emma Jane McAleese, Emma O’Brien, Enda Bowe, Enda Burke, Eva O’Leary, Fiona Hackett, Fiona-Louise Ntidendereza, Frank Abruzzese, Frankie Quinn, Frederic Huska, Gareth Byrne, Gareth McConnell, Garry Loughlin, Gary Byrne, Gary Coyle, Gavin Mullan, George Voronov, Gerard Byrne, Gerry Balfe Smyth, Grainne Quinlan, Gregory Dunn, Hannah Starkey, Harry Moore, Hugh O’Conor, Hugh Quigley, Ieva Baltaduonyte, Jackie Nickerson, Jamin Keogh, Jan McCullough, Jane Cummins, Jean Curran, Jeanette Lowe, Jialin Long, Jill Quigley, Joanne Mullin, Joe Campbell, John Foley, Johnny Savage, Jonathan McCormick, Karl Burke, Kate Nolan, Kenneth O’Halloran, Kenneth O’Halloran, Kevin Griffin, Kieran Rose, Kim Haughton, Leanne McDonagh, Les Levine, Linda Brownlee, Linda Plunkett, Malcolm McGettigan, Mandy O’Neill, Mark Curran, Mark McGuinness, Martin Cregg, Martin Melaugh, Mary McIntyre, Matthew Thompson, Megan Doherty, Michael Boran, Michael Corrigan, Mick O’Kelly, Miriam O’Connor, Myles Shelly, Neil Jarman, Niall O’Brien, Niamh Barry, Niamh Smith, Noel Bowler, Olamide Ojegbenro, Padraig Spillane, Patrick O’Byrne, Paul Carroll, Paul Crispin, Paul Gaffney, Paul Seawright, Paula Barrett, Perry Odgen, Peter Moloney, Peter Neill, Phelim Hoey, Rachel Glass, Richard Gilligan, Richard Gosnold, Richard Mosse, Robert Ellis, Róisín White, Ronan McCall, Roseanne Lynch, Ross McDonnell, Ruby Wallis, Ruth Connolly, Ruth Medjber, Ryan Allen, Samantha Brown, Samuel Laurence Cunnane, Sarah Louise Lordan, Sarah Navan, Sean Breithaupt, Sean Hillen, Shane Hynan, Shane Lynam, Simon Bates, Simon Burch, Sinead Curran, Steven Nestor, Suzanne Mooney, Tessy Ehiguese, Tim Durham, Tom Wood, Tommie Lehane, Tommy Weir, Tony Murray, Tony O’Shea, Trish Morrissey, Vera Ryklova, Victor Sloan, Victoria J. Dean, Vukašin Nedeljković, William L. Rukeyser, Willie Doherty, Yvette Monahan, Zoe Hamill.

The exhibition presents video Works by Ailbhe Greaney, Ailbhe Ni Bhriain, Aisling Keavey, Alan Butler, Alisha Doody, Anthony Haughey, Basil Al Rawi, Benjamin Malcolmson, Clare Langan, Dorje De Burgh, Emma Campbell, Kevin Gaffney, Luca Truffarelli, Luke Faulkner, Martin Healy, Michael Hanna, Sean Hillen, Trish Morrissey.
See the full list of video works here.