James Coleman
Irish Video Installation Artist. Biography.


James Coleman (b.1941)

Born in County Roscommon, James Coleman is one of the most influential Irish artists working in the relatively new media of installation and video art. Over the past 30 years his output of contemporary art has included photography (including projected film still, transparencies, and slide show works, with images fading into one other to a sound background) and film, to convey his ideas. He represented Ireland in the 1973 Paris Biennale.

He studied at Dublin's National College of Art and Design (NCAD), and University College, before spending time in Paris and London, and latterly in Milan, although he now lives and works in Ireland. During the mid-1960s, Coleman had begun creating works using photography and video, going on to develop a range of live works performed in Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal. His 1990s works are noted for their displays of imagery using different genres, including popular TV soap opera, documentary and film, as well as their references to drama and painting, which allows Coleman to comment obliquely on all these art forms without making a personal commitment to any.

Communication and the use of media are central concerns in his complex and critically acclaimed trilogy: Background, 1991-94, Lapsus Exposure, 1992-94, and INITIALS, 1993-94. In 2004, these works - shown to great acclaim in many prestigious museums in France, North America, Britain, Germany, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Switzerland - were acquired by the Heritage Fund of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. According to the Museum’s Director, Enrique Juncosa, James Coleman's trilogy represents one of the core artworks of the IMMA Collection of avant-garde art, belonging as it does to the experimental linguistic tradition pioneered by James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, and exemplifying the artist's influence over the new generation of artists such as Liam Gillick, Steve McQueen, Douglas Gordon, Jaki Irvine and Gerard Byrne.

Since the 1970s, James Coleman's works of art have been shown in numerous international museums and galleries, including the DIA Center for the Arts, New York (1994-95), Kunstmuseum Luzern (1995), Pompidou Centre, Paris (1996), FundacioAntoni Tapies, Barcelona (1999), Kunstbau Lenbachhaus, Munich (2002), Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2002), Louvre Museum, Paris (2003), and Museu do Chiado, Lisbon (2004-05). In addition, Coleman has participated in many international group exhibitions. His works are represented in numerous collections of modern art, including: Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent; Museum Ludwig, Cologne Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona; Luzern Kunstmuseum. In 2006, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa by the National University of Ireland at NUI Galway, for his contribution to the visual arts of Ireland. James Coleman is a member of Aosdana.

More Information About Visual Arts in Ireland

• For details of other installation works, see: Irish Artists.
• For more about postmodernist artists like James Coleman, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about contemporary art forms, see: Homepage.

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