2014 Press Releases
The Art of the Great
A spellbinding exhibition will launch in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC today running until 13th July 2014, as ‘Facing Pages: The Art of the Great Book of Ireland’ formally opens.
Published in 1991 and acquired by UCC in 2013, The Great Book of Ireland captures a significant moment of Ireland’s cultural production. This exhibition explores the ideas that went into the creation of the manuscript, the ways in which collections offer insight into specific historical moments and the legacy of such anthologies.
Through significant works on loan from the Irish Museum of Modern Art as well as UCC’s own art collection, Facing Pages provides an opportunity to encounter the art of many of the visual artists who contributed to The Great Book such as Robert Ballagh, Cecily Brennan, Barrie Cooke, Michael Farrell, Eithne Jordan, Louis le Brocquy, Tony O’Malley, and Kathy Prendergast.
A series of ‘listening stations’ placed throughout the exhibition enables visitors to consider the literary aspect of The Great Book which includes poetry by Ciaran Carson, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Theo Dorgan, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Mahon, as well as Samuel Beckett’s final poem. These sites also present a series of photographic images by Amelia Stein, documenting the inscription of their texts by John Montague and Seamus Heaney.
'Facing Pages: The Art of The Great Book of Ireland' includes an extensive programme of readings, lectures, workshops and musical performances, developed with colleagues from the Library in UCC, the School of English and the School of Music and Theatre, UCC. This programme explores ideas of collaboration between disciplines of visual art, music and literature, the context of the Great Book’s production, and the legacy and relevance of the manuscript to scholars and the general public today.
'Facing Pages: The Art of The Great Book of Ireland' is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland, UCC, the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s National Programme and private philanthropy through Cork University Foundation.
The Great Book of Ireland, Leabhar Mór na hÉireann, is an extraordinary single vellum manuscript comprising the original work of 121 artists, 143 poets and nine composers. Produced in Dublin between 1989 and 1991, it has been acquired by UCC to be preserved for posterity and displayed by the University on behalf of the Irish people.
The University, through the Library and the Cork University Foundation, worked for a number of years with The Great Book fundraising campaign, and in 2012, with the support of a number of extremely generous philanthropic individuals and organisations, UCC finally acquired the manuscript and associated rights from the Trust, all of the costs involved coming exclusively from private sources.
Future developments by the Library in making The Great Book of Ireland accessible involves creating a virtual book using ‘Turning the Pages’ software. This allows you to literally ‘turn each page’ online so that you can browse all of these pages at anytime from anywhere. At present, it is vital to ensure a carefully controlled environment to ensure the safety and preservation of the book for future generations to enjoy. Such access also facilitates further research and collaboration by scholars and researchers, globally, in keeping with the Library’s commitment to artistic culture and its promotion and preservation.
Lunchtime lectures, evening poetry readings and workshops to compliment the exhibition will be taking place in the coming months and details of these will be made available through the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC.