Press Release

2116: Forecast for the Next Century, Challenges Sixteen Artists to Imagine Ireland’s Future through Sculpture, Painting, Video, and Performance Art

Event Date: 
5 November 2016
East Lansing, MI
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Exhibition’s U.S. Premiere Marks Anniversary of Nation’s Easter Rising

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (Broad MSU) is partnering with the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at the University College Cork, Ireland to present a new exhibition that features contemporary Irish artists’ visions of the country’s changing society and imagined future. On view November 5, 2016 – April 2, 2017, 2116: A Forecast of the Next Century will feature new and existing works by sixteen Irish artists. 

On the centennial of the Easter Rising, one of Ireland’s most pivotal political events which is widely accepted as a significant catalyst within the Irish independence movement, the artists in 2116 project a variety of interpretations of the country’s future and place within global society.

“This exhibition provides a platform to consider Ireland’s history, culture, politics, and evolving social identity,” said Marc-Olivier Wahler, Director of the Broad MSU. “The spirit of experimentation inherent in the work of these artists challenged to envision a distant future, in turn asks visitors to examine the present through a variety of social and cultural lenses. We are proud to partner with another University art institution, the Glucksman Gallery at University College Cork, to bring the work of these artists to American audiences.”  

Artists featured in 2116 confront the question of the island nation’s future drawing upon many different inspirations—from literature and architecture to technology, the food economy, the natural environment, and individual and collective identity. Site-specific works by Amanda Coogan and Lee Welch will incorporate elements of the Museum’s dynamic Zaha Hadid-designed building, and performances will activate the galleries throughout the exhibition’s run.  

“As Ireland marks a milestone in its history, one hundred years on from the Easter Rising that would lead to its independence, we have challenged the country’s artists to take this moment to reflect on what may be to come in the next hundred years,” said Caitlín Doherty, exhibition co-curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Broad MSU. “2116 closely considers one evolving culture, though many of the themes addressed in the exhibition will resonate well beyond Ireland as countries around the globe contend with shifting identities in an increasingly interdependent world.”

Highlighted works in the exhibition include:

  • Darn Thorn’s Aggiornamento #1 and Aggiornamento #2 (2016), a presentation of digitally altered images of 1960’s modernist architecture that proposes a utopic future where unfulfilled promises by celebrated philosophers of the past come to fruition.
  • The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy’s Future Food Cults (2016), a mixed-media installation by the artist-led think tank dedicated to examining biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems. The installation features digital prints, short stories, and packaged food items and addresses impending threats to global food security. 
  • Amanda Coogan’s Rock, what’s the matter with you, Rock (2016), a performance piece realized in collaboration with MSU theater students that features several participants walking backwards through the galleries while holding mirrors of varying sizes, simultaneously reflecting themselves, the audience, and the Museum’s stark architecture. The re-contextualization of this simple gesture reflects upon how individuals negotiate built environments and how we view others and the self.  
  • Lee Welch will utilize the large, angular windows within the Museum’s Minskoff gallery as the canvas for his work, Sea Sere Sees, Seam Sow (2016), painting gold swathes across the space in shapes reminiscent of early Celtic symbols that reflect an unknowable future of indecipherable language and codes. The artist will also be represented with To see without looking (2016), a series of walk-throughs of the exhibition led by a visually impaired tour guide, igniting a deep level of sensitivity and examination of how one perceives a work of art. 
  • Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s Reports to an Academy (2015) takes Franz Kafka’s short story ‘A Report to an Academy’ and its exploration of how identity is performed as inspiration for a multi-screen projection that employs filmed imagery relating to an idealized, traditional representation of Ireland and reconstructs them through a virtual, computer-generated world—questioning borders between the past and future, the real, remembered, and imagined. 

2116: Forecast of the Next Century has been organized in collaboration between the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, and co-curated by Caitlín Doherty, Broad MSU Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs; Chris Clarke, Senior Curator at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery; and Fiona Kearney, Director at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. Support for this exhibition is provided by Culture Ireland and the Eli and Edythe Broad Endowed Exhibition Fund.

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Amanda Coogan. Courtesy of the artist.

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