Illuminations, the new digital gallery space at NUI Maynooth, launches on 27th September 2012, with its first exhibition, ‘In the Light Of’.

The gallery came into being through taking seriously an architect’s filler term ‘exhibition space’ on the drawings for the Iontas Building in NUI Maynoth. Now Illuminations is ready to launch its first year’s programming. The name Illuminations (suggestive of light and enlightenment, medieval manuscripts, Blackpool and Walter Benjamin) lead me to think about Rimbaud’s Illuminations, those strange and dense prose poems. A recent, unsatisfactorily literal translation by John Ashbery had me thinking that it would be an idea to get translations of some of the poems and have them ‘illuminated’ by visual artists. My first port of call was Ciaran Carson, since he had translated Rimbaud in his book The Alexandrine Plan. Ciaran took up the challenge, translating a swathe of the poems into those taut and leggy couplets he uses. The rage for order in the original, which made for chaos in literal translation, became a series of melancholy echoes in Ciaran’s verse. The resulting book, ‘In the Light Of’, will be published by Gallery Press on 27th September 2012.

Meanwhile Aiden Grennelle had designed the visual identity of Illuminations and I asked him if he might work on curating visual representations of Ciaran’s versions of Rimbaud. I particularly wanted to get graphic designers involved since their play of pattern and individuality, of faithfulness to the task and flair for communication, seemed to me an interesting angle on Ciaran’s poems. So Aiden, along with David Joyce, Marc-Ivan O’Gorman and David Wall have worked away in recent weeks. Peter Evers turned up at my house one night with a generator, a film camera and a head full of ideas. All will be revealed on 27th September at 6.30pm. Do join us if you’re free.

Visit the Illuminations website here.


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