The Douglas Hyde Gallery opened in Trinity College in 1978 and was Ireland’s main publically funded gallery of contemporary art until IMMA was established in 1990. In May this year, the gallery appointed a new director, after twenty-five years with previous director John Hutchinson at the helm. Georgina Jackson, previously Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at Mercer Union contemporary art gallery and a graduate of the History of Art Department in Trinity, has returned to Ireland to take up the role. Here she speaks about her plans for the gallery.
The Douglas Hyde operates in this amazing space – it’s an artery point between the university and the city, and it has this very specific role in thinking about how art production and cultural production and ways of encountering the world can be posited both within the university, but also within the city. Looking to the future of the gallery, there will be a focus on supporting artistic production and commissioning new work, but also on artists having access to resources within the university.
There’ll also be a much more developed education programme. We’ve just started doing weekly tours, two tours open to the public per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as well as a programme of conversations, film screenings and talks. For example, as part of Calling on Gravity, Rachel Mosse from the History of Art department is going to come in to talk about the experience of Gothic cathedrals. So it’s about making tangential connections, and really expanding an educational framework around the exhibition.
Gallery 2 will become a space called ‘The Artist’s Eye’, where there will be artists exhibiting a work or a book or a film that has been really influential to them and their practice.
Art is a space where you can think about absolutely anything. Isabel Nolan’s show is an interesting starting point in terms of my programme because she describes the way she works as having this waywardness – she’s interested in a sixteenth century heretic and at the same time an early twentieth century philosopher and Tony Soprano, and she brings all of these amazing ideas and research together, but then it develops into something much further beyond that.
Words: Rachel Donnelly
Isabel Nolan, ‘Curling Up With Reality (The feet of King Francis 1st, 1547), 2016, photograph, 48 x 69 cm framed. Courtesy of the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.