"Convergence: Literary Art Exhibitions"

Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

    8 Downloads (Pure)


    Emanating from the Joyce in Art exhibition I curated as the Irish Government's visual centrepiece of the "Bloomsday" centenary (Dublin, 2004; smaller versions: Tolstoy Estate, Russia 2010, MoA, National University Seoul 2011), my interests turned to how contemporary artistic positions relate to and interpret literature in multi-facetted, liberating ways. My essay in the Blackwell Companion to Joyce on this theme (2007) paved the way for my IAWIS (Word and Image Studies) focus conference "Displaying Word and Image", Belfast 2010 (WJT Mitchell keynote), as well as this exhibition. Convergence brought together art, literature and exhibition theory and practice by first setting out – through publications – a history of "literary art exhibitions" in the European tradition, virtually unknown here. Commodifying events have fed the tourist industry (and displayed a thought and research deficit), but exhibitions also thrived in extra/post-Greenbergian (European) discourses, where twentieth century art could meaningfully engage with literature (Szeemann).The exhibition then evidenced through artworks how artists foreground engaged, liberating elements of (canonical) literature. Irish literature, moreover, cannot uncritically be commodified, where writers emigrated from their “stifling” home country. Works reflecting on the act of reading were displayed alongside visual artists’ writings: the conceptual impetus of writing in visual art has given way to attempts at salvaging the now virtually obsolete book as artistic medium. Art Writing bridges the gap. Conceptual writing positions, educational concerns and a display of all relevant primary literature returned the exhibition’s cycle back to the now re-considered history of literary art exhibitions. There have been “meta exhibitions” before, but not in this area. Through the exhibitions’ Limerick run (B.O’Doherty spoke there), the point was generally understood that my work had prepared and contributed to discourses surrounding the UNESCO City of Literature status of Dublin and pertinent to, as well as co-terminus with, the Yeats-focussed Dublin Contemporary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 16 Jun 2011
    EventConvergence: Literary Art Exhibitions - Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; Limerick City Gallery of Art (offsite), Limerick / Belfast, Limerick
    Duration: 16 Jun 201129 Sept 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Outputmediatype: Curated Exhibition


    • Literary Art Exhibitions
    • Word and Iamge
    • Exhibition
    • Literary Museums
    • Contemporary Art
    • Harald Szeemann
    • James Joyce
    • Samuel Beckett
    • Goethe
    • Schiller
    • Engaged art
    • Irish Culture
    • Art Writing
    • Conceptual Writing


    Dive into the research topics of '"Convergence: Literary Art Exhibitions"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this