Joyce in Art

Visual Art Inspired by James Joyce

Lerm Hayes, Christa-Maria
Catalogue edited for the exhibition

(ISBN: 1 84351 052 9
Versions: pb 285 x 240mm/240pp
Publication Date: June 2004)

Joyce in Art accompanies the exhibition of the same title (at the RHA in Dublin), curated by the author for 16 June 2004, the centenary of Bloomsday. It is the first historical account of visual art inspired by James Joyce…

Responding to Joyce´s viewer-activating prose in Ulysses, Gereon Inger created a set of 95 rubber stamps in 1994. They comr in a box with nine inkpads and can be applied to a copy of Ulysses or to any other surface. The motifs are Inger´s own drawings, images from the turn of the nineteenth century, or what he calls
underhand picture citations. They were chosen to visualize on the one hand the wandering of leitmotivs, on the other hand, remain, however, so universal that they are usable for letters, pictures, graffiti and every other remaining book.
One acquires a good piece from the picture inventory which Joyce has picked up in his world – to gloss book and world with it again.
The works playful and humorous aspects are in keeping with Joyce´s practice, as is the irreverent use of sources. Both hope to provide enjoyment through understanding and active engagement. Inger has evaded many pitfalls of illustration and created a work that is furthermore art-historically evocative – as a commentary on Saul Steinberg´s stamps, fluxus boxes and Duchamp´s boite-en-valise to which miniature works of art inevitably refer. The Conceptual, post-Duchampian aspects also create a witty tension with realistic, motif-centred images on the stamps.

Gereon Inger´s Finnegans Fake, 1994, seems to make a similar point. The artist says – similar to John Cage´s motivation for his Writing through work – that he cannot read Finnegans Wake, only copy it. Just as medieval scribes, mistakes are impossible to be avoided in Inger´s painstaking miniature work, whose outline takes the shape of Dublin Bay: on four hinged panels of a screen – hence Finnegans Fake.