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12 Jan 2015

Announcing a new season of exhibitions at the MAC, Belfast

Olaf Brzeski
Dream – Spontaneous Combustion
Resin and soot installation
Image courtesy the artist

The MAC launches its 2015/16 visual arts programme
the MAC


Eoin Dara

the MAC
10 Exchange Street West
Northern Ireland

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The MAC is pleased to announce details of our 2015/16 Visual Arts Programme which will continue to position the MAC as the leading visual arts venue in Northern Ireland and a significant contributor to national and international  discourse around contemporary visual arts practice.

The season will launch on 30 January with Stuart Brisley: Headwinds. This MAC curated exhibition is presented as a companion piece to the recent Stuart Brisley: State of Denmark exhibition curated by David Thorp for Modern Art Oxford.  Seen together, both these exhibitions represent the most comprehensive survey of the artists practice to date. Brisley has been an important figure in British art for over sixty years, and today, at a time of increasing political, social and economic polarization, his critique of societal norms and prejudices is as relevant and compelling as it ever was.

May through to July will see the launch of our Guest Curator Programme, part of our curatorial development strand of activity, with an exhibition entitled I will go there, take me home, curated by Derry-based Gregory McCartney.  The exhibition will showcase the work of Romanian artist Adrian Ghennie, South African artist Pieter Hugo and Polish artist Olaf Brzeski.  Notably, this will be the first time any of these internationally renowned artists have shown in Ireland and will cement the MAC’s reputation for presenting new work never before seen by audiences in this region.

In early August we will present a major exhibition of work by Belfast-based painter Paddy McCann entitled BLACK QUARTER. This will be the most significant exhibition of the artist’s work to date. McCann is widely acknowledged as one of the most outstanding painters of his generation; he is passionate about art, political in his choice of thematic frameworks, and poetic even in translating uncomfortable memories into intriguing artworks.

In September we will be presenting the first film work by Barbara Freeman entitled, Drifting the Bann, the making of which has been made possible through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Major Artists Award. In the past the Barbara Freeman has created various visual and auditory installations, always responding to particular places both as physical spaces and sonic environments. This is her first film work and it follows the course of the River Bann in Northern Ireland. The artist follows the course of the river with a montage of images and sounds, creating a poetic vision in both space and time that expresses aspects of culture in relation to place.

At the end of October all three of the MAC’s galleries will be given over to an exhibition by the Cuban-born American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Curated by Eoin Dara, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: This Place will be the first major solo presentation of the artist’s work in Ireland. The exhibition, which will include a nuanced selection of works made by the artist between 1989 and 1995, will seek to explore the rich contextual pluralities inherent in Gonzalez-Torres’s work in relation to contemporary culture in Northern Ireland, considering dichotomies between solidity and fluidity, proximity and distance, unity and disarray, harmony and discord.

We will end our 2015/16 programme with two major commissions of new work from Niamh McCann & Helen O’Leary. Niamh McCann’s exhibition will further develop her ongoing exploration and research into the German Jewish architect and designer  Hans Poelzig, best known for his design and build of the Poelzig Building (or the IG Farben building) in Frankfurt, a site of dramatic historic importance for the 20th century. Working closely with the Hans Poelzig Architectural Archive, McCann will be showing drawings and sculptural objects which explore the flow of fact and fiction and the overlapping layers of history and story from that period.

Helen O’Leary’s work delves into her own history as a painter, with both subject matter and raw material rooted in the ruins and failures of her studio. By taking apart canvases, wooden stretchers, panels and frames she turns the conventions of painting literally inside out. Humorous and enigmatic, these fragments that make a new whole, bare their histories as well-worn objects while at the same time are infused with newfound energy and dynamism. O’Leary will produce a new self-supporting and free-standing painterly installation specifically for the MAC’s Upper Gallery.

For more information please contact Eoin Dara at