Commemoration Programme

Artist-in-Residence: John Beattie

Following an open call for proposals, the National Archives appointed John Beattie as its Artist-in-Residence as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.

The National Archives’ Artist-in-Residence programme is designed to support the exploration of new perspectives on archival material relating to the 1921-1923 period through the creation of new and original artwork. Public engagement will be a significant feature of the 24-month programme, providing unique insights into the artist’s creative process, as well as the collections of the National Archives and its role preserving and protecting the records of the State for current and future generations. Through the collaboration, the National Archives will explore new approaches to presenting its collections that enhance visitor enjoyment and encourage different ways of seeing and experiencing them.


Drop in to the National Archives on Culture Night when John Beattie will be chatting about his creative process and inviting the public to interact with a new experimental work. The work which combines traditional display methods with augmented reality imaging technologies to explore different ways of presenting fragile archival records, will be on display in our Reading Room.

Friday 23 September

Session times: 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm

Duration: 15 minutes



 ‘Reperforming State Memory – Work in Progress’  

By John Beattie


Exhibition dates: 9 June – 23 September 2022 (Mon-Fri 10:00 am-5:00 pm) 

View our promo film for the exhibition here

John Beattie’s art practice takes the form of still and moving-image staged productions. He examines and re-presents historical events and narratives using a range of imaging technologies in a way that reveals, or makes visible, often unseen or unknown aspects. Through montage, and layering of historical representations and time-frames, the work offers new perspectives on familiar subjects.

Reperforming State Memory, Beattie’s two-year project with the National Archives, seeks to engage with its collections and to work collaboratively with staff to explore different modes of display and representations of archive material. Over the course of his residency, Beattie will create a body of work that re-stages and brings to life a series of historical narratives and events from the period 1921- 1923.

Following his artist’s talk in February, Beattie will now present work-in-progress in the form of two installations in the National Archives on Bishop Street. The work is experimental, and aims to provide insight into Beattie’s creative process and to explore alternative approaches to presenting archival records.

Last year, Beattie documented the installation of the National Archives’ exhibition, The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives. A ‘behind-the-scenes’ view of the making of the Treaty exhibition will be presented as a 3-screen video installation in the National Archives’ foyer. In addition, Beattie has constructed an experimental work outside the National Archives’ Reading Room, which combines traditional display methods with new imaging technologies to explore new ways of presenting fragile archival records.



‘Re-Performing State Memory’ – A talk by John Beattie, Artist-in-Residence in the National Archives

Thursday February 17th at 6pm. 

John’s talk will focus on elements of his artistic practice, in particular, how he re-stages and interprets historical themes through the cinematic lens. A short film, ‘PERFORMING NGI.988’ will be screened as part of the talk. In addition, John will discuss how he has been engaging with the National Archives to date, developing new work for exhibition in 2023.

You can view a recording of the talk here

Artist’s Biography

John Beattie is a visual artist, originally from Co. Donegal, and currently based in Dublin. He has exhibited widely nationally and internationally, and is currently working towards his solo exhibition Reconstructing Mondrian at the Hugh Lane Gallery in 2023. Recently, Beattie exhibited new work for the Living Canvas project – a new cultural initiative and outdoor LED screen installed at Wilton Park, Dublin, commissioned by IPUT Real Estate, in collaboration with the RHA, DCC Arts Office, and Algorithm.

Still and moving-image productions include: PERFORMING NGI.988 (2016), produced for the 1916 State commemorations in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland, the ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art, and The LAB Gallery, Dublin; and An Artist, The Studio, and all the rest… (2006-2012), a two part cinematic moving-image production, exhibited at The Royal Hibernian Academy.

Since 2013, Beattie has been researching, producing and directing a new body of work titled RECONSTRUCTING MONDRIAN (2013-2020), based on Piet Mondrian’s original Paris studio from 1921-1936, in collaboration with The Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, and the Foundation Reconstruction of Mondrian’s Studio, The Netherlands.

Beattie has been awarded a number of residencies to date, including the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2020; the apexart Fellowship, New York, 2015; IMMA, Dublin, 2011; Temple Bar Gallery & Studio, Dublin, 2010; the RHA, Dublin, 2010; and Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin, 2006- 2009.

To view work-in-progress:

For further information about John Beattie and his work: