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Alan Butler exhibits in the Irish Museum of Modern Art
As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics 13 April - 27 August 2017 Main Galleries and IMMA Site Opening reception: Thursday, 13th April, 6:30pm

  • Thursday 13 April 2017

As Above, So Below considers the role played by certain spiritualist and alternative doctrines, such as the occult or mysticism, in the creation of abstract painting from its origins to the present digital age. The arc of this exhibition spans a hundred years from the abstract masterworks of Kandinsky, af Klint and Kupka to contemporary work by Steve McQueen and Bruce Nauman and new commissions by Alan Butler and Linder among others. As Above, So Below resists becoming a comprehensive survey that traces the role of art and spirituality however. Instead, it presents perspectives on spirituality from a range of unique viewpoints in over 200 works, many of which have never been seen in Ireland before.

The title, As Above, So Below, echoes an often quoted saying, employed by artists, poets, writers and astrologers alike, as a means to describe and understand the mysterious but familiar world around us. To look at spirituality in such secular times is a provocation in itself, and the exhibition traces and questions the genesis of deep religious, mystical and occult beliefs that continue to shape the ideas of contemporary artists today. It extends beyond the gallery space with new works made specifically for the IMMA site and a series of performances, events, talks and film screenings taking place during the exhibition. The exhibition’s historical gaze has a particular focus on female artists from the last century whose work remained uncovered until recently in the now shifting narrative of art history.

A Verdic spiritual blessing will be held on Thursday 13 April 2017 at 12:15pm. Later that evening, the official opening of the exhibition will commence at 6:30pm.

Alan Butler
, who is currently exhibiting in the Green On Red Gallery with HELIOSYNTH | March 09 - April 29 2017, presents KOYAANISGTAV an exciting 2 channel HD video created specifically for this exhibition. ON EXACTITUDE IN SCIENCE takes its name from the Jorge Luis Borges short story, Del rigor en la ciencia (1946). This passage describes an ancient, fictional civilization that creates a 1:1 scale map of their territory. Borges, who annotated this text under a pseudonym, in fact based the work on an extract from a Lewis Carroll work first published in 1889.

Using two video screens, this installation comprises the Godfrey Reggio motion picture KOYAANISQATSI (1983), presented in synchronicity with Alan Butler’s shot-for-shot remake KOYAANISGTAV (2017). The work by Reggio was chosen by Butler as a cultural artifact, and a paragon of the most popular visual media of the 20th century, film. The original motion picture does not follow a formal screenplay as such, instead embodies a poetic, pictorial mode of documentary film-making. Using KOYAANISQATSI as a screenplay itself, Butler has transposed this work into a new form using the virtual worlds within the Grand Theft Auto video game series.

On Exactitude in Science, 2017
Two channel HD Video, 5.1 audio
86 minutes Courtesy of the artist.

The motion picture ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ (1983) has been generously provided by the director Godfrey Reggio.

Associated Event
Curators Introduction / As Above, So Below
Thursday 13 April 2017, 6.00 - 7.00pm / Lecture Room
Co-curators of the exhibition, As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics Sam Thorne, Director, Nottingham Contemporary, UK, and Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator, IMMA introduce this major group show. Joined by selected exhibition artists, this discussion will draw on the history of art and spirituality, spanning the last 100 years. Followed by exhibition preview and drinks reception

Wednesday - Sunday: €8/5
Tuesday: Free Always free for IMMA Members, full-time students and under 18’s

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