Tuesday, September 18, 2012

IFI20 Artists’ Commission

Throughout our 20 years in Temple Bar the IFI has reached out to the wider artistic community, not just to filmmakers, forging links within theatre, dance and visual arts, and providing a location for cross disciplinary discussion. From our first artist commission Rachel Joynt’s film reel sculpture ‘Shutter’ in 1993, the IFI has served as both a subject and a facilitator of art; Colin Crotty, Sarah Pierce and Laurence Kavanagh are among the artists who have channelled our activities and collections into varied and thought-provoking art works over the years, giving us their own unique interpretations of different facets of the Irish Film Institute.

To bring this artistic engagement full circle and to celebrate our 20 years as a vital part of Dublin’s cultural landscape, we commissioned work by two local artists, Colm Mac Athlaoich and Killian Dunne from the Black Church Studio in Temple Bar. We asked them to give us their creative response to the IFI’s last 2 decades of activity and gave them unlimited access to the collections of the IFI Irish Film Archive; the result was a series of perceptive, witty and beautifully executed illustrations that are now on permanent display in the IFI Café Bar.

Kasandra O’Connell 
Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive

Killian Dunne, Visual Artist from the Black Church Studio, describes his inspiration behind the commissioned work:

Silent Film

For this poster I drew on imagery from The O'Kalem Collection which is stored in the IFI archive. The Silent film medium has a comical clichéd identity regarding stripped back plots: Guy wants the girl, has to fight the rival/bully and overcome oppression/adversary. The poster had to reflect these themes and had to be kept visually simple. 

IFI Family Festival

For this poster I felt it was important that the kids were in charge and that they were being creative with film and storytelling. Making their own costumes and props reminiscent of Be Kind Rewind. Initially the idea was going to be kids playing Batman characters but King Kong and Godzilla offered a lot more fun and action.

IFI Stranger Than Fiction

The IFI Stranger than Fiction Documentary Festival covers a very broad range of documentaries so I knew I should draw from the festivals title rather than the endless documentary subject matter. At first I thought about the many bizarre origins of every day social, religious and political practices but things got cliché or visually over complex. In the end I went for a film crew made up of some of my favourite fiction characters filming a documentary about the real world. Big foot, an alien and a retro robot are interviewing me outside the IFI.


This poster always had to be approached from an abstract/outside the box angle or out and out comical. At first I went abstract experimenting with IFI archive stills not related to horror, The Children of Lir which I found very scary as a child as well as old photographs of Semeno "Kamo" Ter-Petrossian, an early psychotic college of Stalin. Eventually the comical element of the Horrorthon got the better of me and I started to draw various posters of the Hammer horror monsters hanging around the IFI misbehaving or behaving a little too well like in the final poster.

Illustrations, commissioned by the IFI as part of IFI20: Celebrating 20 Years in Temple Bar, are on permanent display in the IFI Café Bar. 

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