Moving stills

Internationally acclaimed Irish artist James Coleman is probably best known for his slide-tape works, whereby he investigates the “psychological, social and historic conditioning of perception”.


The Roscommon-born artist has been associated with a range of media that dominates large areas of current art practice and uses photography, projected still images with soundtracks, film, video and performance to convey his musings on the connotations of image and language.

The final part of Coleman's slide installation trilogy, showing at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and entitled ‘Background 1991-94' concerns itself with themes such as communication, subjectivity and use of the media. The work was acquired by IMMA in 2004 and completes Coleman's trilogy, following successful showings of ‘I N I T I A L S, 1993-94' and ‘Lapsus Exposure, 1992-94'.

Coleman, born in 1941, studied at the National College of Art and Design and University College Dublin. He then spent time in Paris and London before moving to Milan, where he stayed for 20 years — he now resides in Ireland. The artist had already begun creating works using photography and video in the mid-60s and later developed number of live performed works in Ireland, Portugal and Holland. Since the 1970s, Coleman has exhibited extensively in international museums and galleries, including the Dia Centre, for Arts, New York and Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland.

In June 2006 he was conferred with an honourary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by NUI Galway.

Background 1991-94 runs until 31 August at IMMA