Friday 27 April – Saturday 26 May 2012
DOCUMENT! | Friday 27 April – Saturday 26 May 2012 | NCAD Gallery

A curated selection of visual arts documentation from the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL) at NCAD to be opened by Barbara Dawson, Director, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane on Thursday, 26th April at 6pm

DOCUMENT! is a chronological exploration of the materials used to document the arts, providing a window into developments across the visual arts in Ireland from 1890 to 2010. The exhibition features selected works from the collections at the National Irish Visual Arts Library that are representative of the physical and intellectual content of the library’s extensive holdings including printed ephemera, books and journals, exhibition catalogues, archives, Special Collections, audio-visual material and digital ephemera. NIVAL is an initiative of the Library of the National College of Art and Design in partnership with the Arts Council.

The National Irish Visual Arts Library is a national public resource dedicated to the collection of information on 20th century and contemporary Irish visual art and design. NIVAL’s collection policy covers visual art from the whole island as well as Irish art abroad and non-Irish artists working in Ireland. Information is acquired on artists, designers, galleries, arts organisations, critics and other related subjects.


The exhibition is designed to promote the collections and services of NIVAL and to highlight the importance of producing and preserving documentation on the visual arts. The items on display have been selected to encourage new ways of exploring and exploiting information resources in the service of art, design and history, reflecting the growing awareness, in art practice and understanding, of the importance of archives and archiving.

Contemporary and historic collections featured in the exhibition include the Artists and Galleries Files, Earley & Company Archives (1852-1974), the Friends of the National Collections (1924-present), the Mainie Jellett Collection, the Irish Exhibition of Living Art (1947-1971), Kilkenny Design Workshops Archive (1963-1989), the Rosc Collection, the Graphic Studio Dublin Archive (1960-present), the Records of the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland/Visual Artists Ireland (1983-present), the Records of the Temple Bar Gallery & Studios (1986-2000), Illustrated Books, Artists’ Books, and the Poster Collection.


Artist Jennie Guy has worked with the librarians at NIVAL on the third iteration of her Reading Ensemble series. This new work involves both a video and a performance that will be staged within DOCUMENT! at the NCAD Gallery. The performance will take place at the exhibition’s opening view on Thursday, April 26th.


At the opening view, NIVAL will be marking the 15th anniversary of its establishment with the launch of a new website at, developed by Fluid Rock. This project has been generously supported by a grant from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.


Current Investigations into Irish Visual Culture: NIVAL resources in support of contemporary art and design research

Friday, 11th May, 1:30 – 5:00pm

A public seminar delivered by a panel of academics, artists and curators highlighting the contribution of the NIVAL collections to their research practice during the past ten years. The seminar will take the form of a series of 15-20 minute presentations followed by Q&A. Confirmed speakers include MaryAnn Bolger, Michelle Browne, Ciara Healy, Dr. Roisin Kennedy and Megs Morley. The event will be chaired by Valerie Connor.

Discussion document: A specially commissioned leaflet with text by Valerie Connor and Dr. Catherine Morris will be launched at this event.

A Walk through the File with…

A series of public interviews between an artist and a cultural commentator, exploring the collection of artists’ documentation held in the NIVAL collection. The commentator will present to the artist items from the library collection to stimulate dialogue around both the art work documented and the process behind the documentation.

Tuesday, 15th May, 12:45 to 1:30pm A walk through the file with… Alice Maher, moderated by Dr. Catherine Morris

Tuesday, 22nd May, 12:45 to 1:30pm A walk through the file with… John Byrne, moderated by Declan Long

Friday 27 April – Saturday 26 May 2012
NCAD Gallery
100 Thomas Street
Dublin 8
Telephone: +353 1 6364200
Opening hours / start times:
1pm - 5pm, Monday – Friday
Admission / price: Free

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