Escaped Animals at the IMMA

During my visit to the IMMA last week, I took a walk down the tree lined avenue that led from the main building, west towards the old gaol on Inchicore Road. There’s several art works in the grounds and walking down the avenue I spotted a number of “road signs” with pictures of animals.


Together they constituted an art work created by the English artist, Julian Opie.

Like real road signs, these graphic images are designed to be read and understood instantly. Reduced to their bare essentials, all unnecessary or excessive visual information edited out, they function as symbols for the things they represent. And yet, unlike real road signs, they do not point the way or tell us where to go, but encourage us instead to make our own interpretation.

Escaped Animals is a series of thirteen manufactured road signs depicting animals. Each sign was produced in an edition of four plus one artist’s proof. They were  commissioned by BALTIC – the centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England, to mark its opening in 2002 and were originally intended to ‘point the way’ to BALTIC from outside a number of leading museums and galleries.. The IMMA has five of the signs.