In 2008, to commemorate 50 years of the Irish Georgian Society, the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society and Limerick City Gallery of Art commissioned four artists to take photographs of Georgian Limerick. This exhibition has now transferred to the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Square Dublin where it will open on Tuesday 9 February and run until Friday 12 March 2010.
The idea of the exhibition was to ask four artists of very different temperament to photograph the historic and commercial centre of Limerick. This is a planned Georgian new town which, despite its central economic and social role within the city, has a decaying fabric. Neither its architectural character nor the historic importance of the townscape are fully recognized.
To ask the four artists to photograph what they see in Georgian Limerick was an invitation to reveal what has been hidden by familiarity and neglect – architectural coherence, moments of monumentality, beauty. Alternatively the images can show whatis normally unseen – the richness of the interior decoration, the life of the lanes. With the power of photography to focus attention and to transform the ordinary and taken-forgranted the exhibition aimed to help define the character and value of Georgian Limerick.
Located in Limerick City Gallery of Art in 2008 the exhibition had a mainly local audience. Located in Dublin not only will the photographs have a broader audience but Georgian Limerick will be seen and defined within a national framework. This will be encouraged by a series of lunchtime lectures at the Irish Architectural Archive which will investigate the photographic representation of cities and the place of cities in contemporary Ireland.
Photography has been intrinsic to the Irish Georgian Society since it was founded in 1958 by Desmond Guinness to stimulate interest in Ireland’s Georgian architecture. In the 1960s Desmond Guinness commissioned Hugh Doran to photograph Irish country houses for an exhibition. At a time when eighteenth-century architecture was despised and under threat Doran’s carefully composed images celebrated the beauty of these houses, established their place in Irish culture and provided a record of those buildings that were later lost. The Irish Architectural Archive exhibition extends this spirit to Limerick.
The exhibition runs at Irish Architectural Archive, Merrion Square, Dublin from 9 February – 26 March 2010. It is curated by Mike Fitzpatrick, former Director, Limerick City Gallery of Art; Judith Hill and Matthew Shinnors, Limerick Chapter Irish Georgian Society. The photographers were Kieran Clancy, Architectural photographer; Sean Lynch; Eamonn O’Mahony, Professional Photographer; and Deirdre Power.