The uncanny, fantasy and imagination in Irish art

Dublin’s National Gallery of Ireland has a free exhibition looking at how the uncanny, fantasy and imagination have been represented in Irish art.

Although only three rooms, there are some wonderful pieces, many of which explicitly touch on psychological themes.

This is an extract from the programme:

The Fantastic has manifested itself in various ways, some subtle and some more dramatic and outrageous. The most obvious manner in which the concept was presented in both literary and visual terms was by drawing the viewer’s attention to the ambiguity of everyday experience. This effect can be considered in terms of the idea of the uncanny, where the familiar is made to appear strange and disturbing.

Sigmund Freud, writing on this phenomenon in 1919, expressed his fascination with the way in which an artwork could affect a strong psychological response in the viewer or reader by creating something that was both familiar and alien at the same time. He believed that the uncanny triggered repressed memories from childhood and it is notable that many of the artworks in this exhibition which evoke the uncanny, refer to childlike forms or activities.

There’s also various free talks associated with the exhibition, the best of which looks to be ‘The Fantastic in Art: The Inner World of the Imagination’ which unfortunately happens at the inconvenient time of 10.30am on Tuesday 17th April.

The exhibitions runs until the 12th August.

Link to exhibition information.

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