Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future – Frac des Pays de la Loire, France 5 July – 21 September 2014

Image: Gerard Byrne, extract "A thing is a hole in a thing it is not" 2010, courtesy of Lisson Gallery London, Nordenhake Gallery Stockholm and Green on Red Gallery Dublin
















Gerard Byrne

A late evening in the future


Frac des Pays de la Loire

Boulevard Ampère
44470 Carquefou


5 July – 21 September 2014


In the frame of Songe d’une nuit d’été (Midsummer night’s dream) a contemporary art & heritage trail in the loire valley – from march to november 2014


Gerard Byrne has spent his career revisiting our cultural history: his carefully-documented film productions show public figures of the twentieth century – artists, writers, businessmen – discussing social and political issues of their day.  Byrne looks to the media world of his youth (whether publications, television or advertising) for the raw material of his dialogues and conversations. As such, 1984 and Beyond (2005-07) refers to 1960s’ America and its vision of the future, through a discussion organized by Playboy in 1963, and which brings together some of the leading figures in science fiction such as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. In the midst of these turbulent times, this butch band foresees with complete confidence the end of communism, intergalactic space travel, a society of plenty and complete sexual freedom. Evoking a future yet to happen from a bygone age, the scene is as fascinating as it is disturbing.


Byrne’s twentieth century is full of men, and these men speak mainly about art and sex (women), between revolutionary aspirations and moral conservatism. A thing is a hole in a thing it is not calls upon, through some chequered episodes in its history, some of the major players of Minimalism and the American modern art scene: Robert Morris, Tony Smith, Franck Stella discover, discuss and implement a new vision of the artwork, a pure spatial object.  In A Man and a Woman make love (2012), a group of phallocentric surrealists – including André Breton and Raymond Queneau – descant learnedly on pleasure and the mysteries of the female orgasm. Staged on a sitcom set very much in the style of the Belle Epoque, this dialogue published in 1928 in La Révolution surréaliste (The Surrealist Revolution) appears all the more shocking. Between these two issues we glimpse the question of objectivity of forms and of the subjugation of women and nations, a common desire for control, and a form of complicity, which leave their mark on our cultural history.

Deliberately theatrical, Gerard Byrne’s films constantly blur the boundaries between document and fiction, between History and histories. At the FRAC Pays de la Loire, the artist has chosen to bring them back into play in a setting that draws as much on the language of minimalist sculpture and romantic ruin as on the theatre stage. The large gallery, immersed in shadow, is dotted with monumental slabs propped up against one another and with viewing devices. The slabs and screens come alive and switch off; the films are fragmented according to the switching whims of the software controlling the whole installation, and the movements of roaming visitors. Somewhere within the gallery space stands enthroned the reconstruction of the white tree created by Giacometti for a set of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Also borrowed from Beckett is the exhibition’s title: A late evening in the future is the first stage direction in Krapp’s Last Tape, which sees Krapp, a failed writer reduced to vagrancy, soliloquize while listening once again to an old tape spool, a kind of record of “blessed, blissful days” cut short by a distressing break-up. Like the example of Beckett’s set, Gerard Byrne’s exhibition seeks to be an enigmatic twilight zone devoted to recollection, subject to a random and discretionary order. It is therefore for the roaming visitor to reconstruct meaning out of the modernist narratives cleverly deconstructed by the artist.

Text: Julien Zerbone







Isabel Nolan: DEEP ONE PERFECT MORNING – Kerlin Gallery Dublin, 18 July – 30 August 2014














Image: Isabel Nolan: What remains of an occasion that had not lasted. 2013

mild steel and PU Satin Lacquer, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper, framed
element one: 572 x 295 x 55 cm, element one 225.2 x 116.1 x 21.7, courtesy of the artist and Kerlin Gallery




Caroline Achaintre, Aleana Egan, Mark Francis, Liam Gillick, Sam Keogh, Isabel Nolan and Jan Pleitner


Kerlin Gallery

Ann’s Lane

Dublin 2


18 July – 30 August 2014



…a perfectly crowded scene of sorts, with fences and screens, a heron, chairs, permanent marker, Fruit Loops, mild steel and powder coated aluminium, wire, balls, leather, Plexiglas®, more chairs, glass beads, a mask, puke, Gena Rowlands, Leonardo and Krang, more puke, ceramic, jesmonite, a performance maybe, butt hole surfers, neon cord, toxic waste, carefully diffused light, paint, Skittles, rubbish, electrical cable, frozen pizza, three A0 posters and of course, Mel Brooks.




Liam O’Callaghan: If and then…(again) Galway Arts Centre 14 July – 27 July 2014















Liam O’Callaghan

If and then…(again)


Galway Arts Centre

47 Dominick Street



14 July – 27 July 2014


Galway Arts Festival & Galway Arts Centre present if and then…(again) a multi-media exhibition by Dublin based artist Liam O’Callaghan.

The process of O’Callaghan’s work is one that leaves time and space for continued inventiveness, experimentation and play. A continuing process of thinking by hand, with a make shift, make-do aesthetic is apparent in each work. O’Callaghan’s performative process explores the poetry of objects and the act of making, leading to a collision of sound and object and a sense of experience, for both the artist and the audience. This performative and experimental process creates work that the viewer can question and consider. It frames a darker side to society and the struggles of the human condition in a world striving for a homogenized idealism.


Liam O’Callaghan (b. 1968, Ireland) is based in Dublin; he studied at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. He has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Recent solo shows include: If and Then…, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, 2014; Bit Symphony, Temple Bar Gallery Dublin 2011; Rasche Ripken Gallery Berlin, 2009 and Made to Make do Royal Hibernian Academy Dublin, 2006. Selected group shows include: O Brave New World, Rubicon Projects Brussels, 2013; Terrible Beauty, Dublin Contemporary 2011 and Twenty, IMMA Dublin & Redefine: Readymade, Kunstverein Schwerin, 2011. Liam O’Callaghan is represented by the Rubicon Gallery.


Image Credits:
Liam O’Callaghan Companion Structures 2014 digital photograph courtesy Rubicon Gallery


Ella de Burca: OTHERWISE – Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland, 11 July – 15 September 2014

Image: Ella de Burca ' Sometimes its like being trapped in a snow globe Eblana' 2014 courtesy of the artist




















Wyspa Insti­tute of Art / Wyspa Pro­gress Foundation

Doki 1 / 145 B
80–958 Gdańsk, Poland


11 July – 15 September, 2014


OTHER­WISE: Ken­nedy Browne, Marta Fer­nan­dez Calvo, Ella de Burca, Jesse Jones, Seamus Nolan, Ela­ine Ray­nolds.


Con­ti­nu­ing the deba­tes aro­und the notion of For­mer West and the com­plex impli­ca­tions of the poli­ti­cal and eco­no­mic shi­fts post- 1989, the group show OTHER­WISE aims to explore the geo­po­li­ti­cal meaning of the term West in the con­text of migra­tion and pre­ca­rity within post­in­du­strial socie­ties.

OTHER­WISE will inve­sti­gate this sense of limi­ta­tion and the restric­tions deri­ved from one’s geo­gra­phi­cal posi­tio­ning and the strug­gles one faces upon ente­ring the cycle of migra­tion. It will focus on the con­di­tions of con­tem­po­rary wor­kers and the rise of the pre­ca­riat in the con­text of histo­ri­cal chan­ges bro­ught about by the events of 1989 in order to reflect on the short- lived poten­tial of a com­mon world free from the hege­mony of any sys­tems; the once- imagined possi­bi­lity of things hap­pe­ning otherwise.


Sho­uld we agree that the West is exhau­sted as a poli­ti­cal con­struct, then it must also be ack­now­led­ged that it rema­ins in force as a geo­gra­phi­cal con­fi­gu­ra­tion, with migra­tion as the move­ment which nowa­days rein­for­ces its for­mat. Tho­ugh tech­ni­cally the phy­si­cal and ide­olo­gi­cal bor­ders between the for­mer East and the West were lifted in 1989, the real fre­edom of move­ment and access to the labour mar­ket is still restric­ted. EU agen­cies such as Fron­tex have been esta­bli­shed to rein­force the bor­ders between the EU and non- EU coun­tries, thus cre­ating a new East and West division.




ELLA DE BURCA’s cre­ative out­put focu­ses on sculp­tu­ral respon­ses to the the­mes of lan­gu­age, gra­vity, labour and per­for­mance.  Star­ting from a sub­jec­tive van­tage point, she works outwards to encom­pass local and glo­bal con­stel­la­tions of inter­pre­ta­tion and relevance.

She works mainly with objects and poems, altho­ugh it sho­uld be sta­ted that she con­si­ders these poems to take form as objects in them­se­lves, occu­py­ing a page or a wall in a way that refers to their own phy­si­ca­lity. Usu­ally wor­king in response to immediate sur­ro­un­dings, de Burca views exhi­bi­tion making as the phy­si­cal mani­fe­sta­tion of the tho­ught pro­ces­ses inspi­red by being pre­sent in a place. In questio­ning of the expe­rience and poten­tial of an art piece, she plays with form and line to over­lap histo­ri­cal con­scio­usness with live visual awareness.

Group shows inc­lude ‘Slow Future’ Cen­tre for Con­tem­pro­ary Art Ujaz­dow­ski Castle’ War­saw 2014, Cram­po­gra­phies’ KW Insti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Ber­lin 2014,  Rebu­il­ding Uto­pia The Emer­gency Pavi­lion at The 53rd Venice Bien­nale 2013, Play­ing Nature, special pro­ject at The 5th Moscow Bien­nale 2013, and Vienna Art Fair 2013, both cura­ted by Katia Krup­pe­ni­kova, Dublin Con­tem­po­rary 2011, Out on a Boat Were a Group of People Sin­ging at The Lab 2011, Disa­vow at The Joinery 2011 and the cloud at Dra­iocht in 2010

Solo shows inc­lude:
Haha Har­co­urt Street, ArtLot Dublin, 2013
Illu­mi­na­ting  Kun­stho­les at Coffre- Fort, Brus­sels, Bel­gium, 2013,
Aviary Aste­rism at Air Antwer­pen, Antwerp, Bel­gium 2012,
DeFacto, Spring­break Gal­lery, Miami, The Reality Show, The Banff Cen­tre, Canada 2011,
Duino, Place Gal­lery, Wexford and Silent Vibra­tions at the Irish Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art 2010.

De Burca was the reci­pient of the Eve­lyn Wood Memo­rial Award (The Banff Cen­tre) in 2011, as well as the Amharc Fhinne Ghall Award (Fin­gal County Coun­cil) in 2010. She has also rece­ived the Tra­vel and Tra­ining Award from The Irish Arts Coun­cil in 2011 and 2010, and has been the reci­pient of an Arts grant from Fin­gal County Coun­cil and Cul­ture Ire­land in 2013. In 2006 de Burca won the Samuel Bec­kett Cen­te­nary Award. In 2014 de Burca was the reci­pient of an arts bur­sary from The Irish Arts Council.


For further information:







Genieve Figgis: Yes Captain – Harper’s Books NY, 5 July – 6 August, 2014















Genieve Figgis

Yes Captain


Harper’s Books

87 Newtown Lane
East Hampton, NY


July 5 – August 6, 2014



Harper’s Books NY presents their highly anticipated exhibition of recent work by Irish painter Genieve Figgis, titled Yes Captain. The show will open with a reception, attended by the artist, on Saturday, July 5, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, and will be on view in the main level and mezzanine galleries through August 6. Featuring work created earlier this year, the display will include a selection of acrylic and oil paintings executed in vibrant color on both board and canvas. While Figgis has been honored with solo exhibitions in Europe, Yes Captain marks the first public presentation of her work in the United States.


Painting at the intersection between abstraction and portraiture, Figgis unites an abiding interest in history with a penchant for the macabre. As critic David Rimanelli notes, “the figures populating Genieve Figgis’s paintings emanate from some luminescent netherworld, suspended between life and death, or living life and death or life through death in a land of the willingly lost, enchanted and menacing by turns.” Laden with both humor and anxiety, her work is at once wrought with emotional intensity and haunted by psychological deviance, rooted in her ethereal caricatures of genteel society gone awry.


Incorporating sourced imagery of royalty from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Figgis engages in an ongoing dialogue with the court painter tradition, exploring the absurdity of history and power dynamics — subjects deeply related to her Irish heritage — through depictions of English aristocracy, grandiose architecture, and baroque fashion. By means of her distinctly anti-academic aesthetic, which features motifs that are, at turns, psychedelic and grotesque, Figgis’s work implies a sense of distrust in authority figures and accepted dogmas, instead relegating them to a place of ridicule and farce.


Indicative of current trends in communication, in which social media has the power to engender changes in public perception, Figgis’ induction into the American art scene was largely through the Internet, where she first gained recognition in New York circles on Twitter and Instagram. Through her autonomous self-promotion and resoundingly positive public reception, Figgis has acquired a reputation as a rising talent in contemporary art, whose unique style has garnered the attention of notable collectors and art enthusiasts worldwide.


A native of Dublin, Ireland, Figgis has exhibited extensively since completing her BFA and MFA degrees at The National College of Art and Design. During the past two years, she has contributed work to group shows at Flood Gallery in Dublin, Angell Gallery in Toronto, and Mall Galleries in London, and has been featured in solo shows at Transition Gallery in London, Talbot Gallery in Dublin, and Studio 9 in Wexford. In fall 2014, Half Gallery will organize a solo exhibition of her work in New York. She is currently represented by Fulton Ryder.

Genieve Figgis: Yes Captain will coincide with the release of the artist’s first book, Making Love with the Devil, published by Fulton Ryder and featuring an essay by David Rimanelli.

For information on available works, please contact the gallery at or (631) 324-1131.


Ella de Burca: SLOW FUTURE – Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland, 27 June – 14 September 2014














Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle
ul. Jazdów 2, 00-467 Warsaw, Poland


27 June – 14 September, 2014

David Adamo
, Bigert & Bergström, Bianca Bondi, Tania Bruguera, Fernando Bryce, Ella de Búrca, Luis Camnitzer, Jota Castro, Joachim Coucke, James Deutsher, Maarten Vanden Eynde, Kendell Geers, Nuria Güell, Patrick Hamilton, Cinthia Marcelle, Tiago Mata Machado, Gordon Matta-Clark, Ingrid Wildi Merino, Mariele Neudecker, Wilfredo Prieto, Aleksandra Wasilkowska, David Zink Yi

Curator: Jota Castro

The theme of the exhibition SLOW FUTURE is degrowth, a social movement advocating that we should abandon the current model of compulsory economic growth and search for ways to improve the quality of life within the limits of capacity of natural environment. The promoters of degrowth, also known as degrowthists, question the supreme value of material possessions and propose alternative models of economy – barter, cooperatives, co-ownership, and community exchange. According to them, it is mistaken to think that economic growth is indispensable for development and that it is the most important goal that everyone should pursue. Supporters of the idea of degrowth believe that it is precisely unrestrained consumption that aggravates social inequalities, not to mention irreversible damage to natural environment. Through their lifestyles, they are trying to oppose the universal pursuit of growth (in development and in economics), which according to them, creates far more social harm than objective benefits. In order to cut down consumption, we don’t have to make sacrifices or reduce our quality of life. It would be enough to use alternative means and methods at a larger scale, such as: recycling, green transport, converting deserted buildings into flats; and finally – to engage local organizations in decision-making processes relating to changes in public space. In times of economic crisis, such concepts become highly appreciated and inspire artists from all over the world.

The exhibition is a follow-up of the “Emergency Pavilion – Rebuilding Utopia” (2013) show in Teatro Fondamenta Nuove during the last year’s Venice Biennale. Its curator, Jota Castro (born in Lima, Peru, 1965) is a French-Peruvian artist-activist. In his work, he often reveals the mechanisms of contemporary consumption and examines social issues in the context of sustainable development, ecology, as well as alternative models of economic exchange. The majority of works presented at the Slow Future exhibition are new works by about twenty artists.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalog containing texts by such authors as Michał Augustyn, Jota Castro, Claudia Pareja, Pierre Raahbi.

The exhibition SLOW FUTURE opens in conjunction with the commencement of the third edition of the project “Green Jazdów.Green Market.”

Follow SLOW FUTURE on Facebook:


Institutional Partners: Embassy of Switzerland, National Council of Culture and the Arts (CNCA), Chile / Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, Chile, The British Council, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands



Further information available at:





Isabel Nolan: The weakened eye of day – Irish Museum of Modern Art, 7 June – 21 September 2014













Isabel Nolan, Image courtesy of the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. © Isabel Nolan.

Thanks to the Donkey Sanctuary Irl., Liscarroll, Mallow, Co. Cork, for their assistance


Isabel Nolan

The weakened eye of day


Irish Museum of Modern Art

Royal Hospital, Military Road,


Dublin 8


7 June – 21 September, 2014

Preview Friday 6 June, 6 – 8pm


The weakened eye of day, is a new body of work by Irish artist Isabel Nolan, conceived as a single project for IMMA. The exhibition explores how light manifests as a metaphor in our thoughts, obsessions and pursuits and includes text, sculpture, drawings and textiles. Nolan’s works begin with the close scrutiny of individual literary or artistic works, or evolve out of consciously erratic enquiries into the aesthetics of diverse fields, such as cosmology, humoral theory, and illuminated manuscripts.

The exhibition takes its title from Thomas Hardy’s poem The Darkling Thrush (1899), in which the sun, described as ‘the weakening eye of day’, is a dismal star drained of its force by a gloomy pre-centennial winter afternoon.  As the sun’s gaze weakens, so flags the spirit of the poet who, until interrupted by birdsong, sees only the inevitability of death in the cold world around him. This show is a material account of the strangeness of the world from the formation of the planet’s crust to the death of the sun and the enduring preoccupation with light as a metaphor for truth.

Nolan’s works both seduce and disarm us. Her work is underpinned by a desire to examine and capture in material form the moments of intensity that can define our encounters with the objects around us; inexplicable and unsettling moments that leave us with a heightened awareness of what is means to be alive. For Nolan this exploration happens through making things – whether monumental or intimate in scale, they are presented to us as tentative and precarious markers of the experience of our place beneath the sun.

Isabel Nolan’s recent solo exhibitions include ‘Unmade’, the Return Gallery, Goethe Institut, Dublin (2012) and ‘A hole into the future’, The Model, Sligo (2011–12), which travelled to the Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne, France (2012). Nolan was one of seven artists who represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale in a group exhibition, ‘Ireland at Venice 2005′. Recent group shows include ‘Nouvelle Vague’, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); ‘Sculptrices’, Villa Datris, Fondation pour la Sculpture Contemporain, France (2013); ‘Modern Families’, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2013).

Thanks to the Donkey Sanctuary irl. Liscarroll, Mallow. Co. Cork. for their assistance.

The exhibition is kindly supported by the Dylan Hotel, THE IRISH TIMES and MRCB Paints & Papers.



Talks and Events

As part of the exhibition there is a series of talks by guests, invited by Nolan, on subjects ranging from cosmology, philosophy and aesthetics.

Lecture | Stuart Clark presents The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth
Saturday 7 June, 1.00pm, Lecture Room

Award winning author and astronomer, Dr Stuart Clark tells the story of how single observations by astronomers have transformed our view of the universe and our place within it.

IMMA+ MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD
Seminar | Art in the Contemporary Universe

Saturday 20 September, 12noon, 2014, Lecture Room
This seminar explores realms of science, aesthetics and philosophy, and what Italo Calvino calls the ‘overambitious projects’ in contemporary culture, narratives in science and the cosmological turn in recent philosophy. Chaired by Paul Ennis and Declan Long (Lecturers, MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD, Dublin).



Rob Murphy and Lily Cahill: Prodigy – Broadstone Studios, 28 May – 1 June, 2014














Prodigy | A new video installation by Lily Cahill & Rob Murphy


Opening reception | Wednesday 28th May | 6pm to 8pm

Repeating daily | Thursday 29th May – Sunday 1st June | 12pm to 6pm


Accompaniment |


In 1827 the French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz purportedly watched Irish actress Harriet Smithson on two occasions at the Odéon Theatre in Paris, playing Hamlet’s Ophelia and Romeo’s Juliet, women created by English playwright William Shakespeare. These events incited Hector’s development of two intense infatuations. One with the actress, resulting in a doomed marriage. The other being the writer, proving the more lasting romance, developing into a lifelong love. Though the performances were in English, of which Hector knew practically none, this could not stop him grasping “the grandeur and sublimity of Shakespeare’s language along with the richness of the plays’ dramatic design.”

Hector would come to recognise ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as “the supreme drama of my life.” 1




Biography |


As practitioners we engage ourselves in visceral experiences in an attempt to comprehend histories negotiating spiritual unknowns, the comedically horrific and speculation of the real world, which can be found in literature and art historical painting. Our sculptures and short video cuts have documented our entrance into provincial ghost trains, mechanical arcs, natural history museums and public toilets. These pathetic efforts to conceive of a sincere world are symptomatic of the failure within our practice to overcome or escape the perimeters of itself through narrative, form or execution. We address this not as a failure of the work, but a valuable and viable position of it. We feel like we win when we lose (‘Waterloo’, ABBA, 1973).


Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy have been working collaboratively on sculpture and video since 2012. They are graduates of the MA – Art in the Contemporary World [2011/2012] at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. They have BA (Hons) degrees in Visual Arts Practice (2011) from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. Recent exhibitions include ‘The Crusades’ at The Drawing Project, Dublin (solo, 2013), ‘Scum’ at The Joinery, Dublin (solo, 2013), Claremorris Open, Mayo (2013), curated by Andrew Wilson of TATE Britain and ‘Your Cruelty’ at Flat_Pack, Dublin (2012).


Broadstone Invited Artists Residency |

As part of Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy’s residency at Broadstone Studios the artists invited Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty, followed by Hannah Fitz, to engage with the Victorian era building. This three-part series of exhibitions finishes with the presentation of a new video installation made throughout their residency at Broadstone by Cahill and Murphy.



Hannah Fitz: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, 14 May – 18 May, 2014





















Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

An exhibition of new works by Hannah Fitz

Curated by Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy


Preview | Wednesday 14th May 6pm – 8pm

Exhibition | Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th 12pm – 6pm


Hannah Fitz graduated from NCAD Sculpture in 2012. A founder of Basic Space in 2009, she now works as co/director of Basic Space Marrowbone Lane. Fitz’s solo practice is predominantly sculptural. She also works collaboratively on a project basis with video work and curatorial projects. Recent exhibitions include: Still In Set, Floor One, TBG+S. IRL Atelier de la Ville en Bios, Nantes, France. An Exhibition Composed for the Irish House, Wood Quay, Civic Trust, Castle Street. Fitz is part of the upcoming exhibition on the 22nd of May: The Spirit of the Stairs at Basic Space, Marrowbone Lane.


For further information on the artist e-mail:


Broadstone Studios Invited Artists |

Lily Cahill & Rob Murphy


As part of Lily Cahill and Rob Murphy’s residency at Broadstone Studios the artists invited Hannah Fitz, and previously Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty, to engage with the Victorian era building. This three-part series of exhibitions will finish with a presentation of new works made throughout their residency at Broadstone by Lily and Rob.





Sarah Pierce: ILLUSIONS PERDUES | LOST ILLUSIONS, SBC Gallery Montreal, Canada, 10 May – 28 June, 2014

Image: Sarah Pierce, Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues (2014), still from two channel video with sound. Performed by Kayla Krische and Olivia Simpson. Produced by Images Festival and commissioned by Mercer Union. Courtesy of the artist

















Sarah Pierce

with Thomas Dalbec


10 May – 28 June 2014


SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art

372 Ste-Catherine West, Suite 507

Montreal, QC, H3B 1A2 Canada



SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art presents Sarah Pierce’s Illusions perdues/Lost Illusions, a solo exhibition in three parts. Elements drawn from Part one and Part two, having taken place at the Walter Philips Gallery at the Banff Centre and at Mercer Union in Toronto, now make their way across Canada coming together in Montréal for SBC’s Illusions perdues/Lost Illusions – Part 3, where the accumulated objects and materials – and with them cross institutional histories– will be renegotiated and added to in the new institutional context.


Pierce’s interest in the status of the artwork, of its collection and display and of its relation to the archive, is played out in the ways that she, her student performers, objects and archival documents – and the labour they represent – are brought into focus. For Illusions perdues/Lost Illusions – Part 3, ‘test pieces’ of varying sorts will travel from the other two venues to SBC over the course of the exhibition. These test objects, which register distinct types of labour and value, and act as repositories of specific histories, will join with elements that Pierce has drawn out of SBC’s own very recent and distant institutional histories – materially manifested and mixed in with archival documents.


Playing off her concerns about the artwork as test piece, as unfinished, not concluded, Pierce has looked to Brechtian-styled ‘learning plays’ at all three venues, enacting and filming workshops with student artists which engender the unfinished approach to theatre that Brecht’s radical techniques demanded. At SBC, a one-on-one, artist-to-student version of the ‘learning play’ workshop, will be filmed with Thomas Dalbec, and screened in the gallery. In this version, Pierce implicates herself both as director and as performer in the staging and in the enactment of the workshop and film.


The modes of display that Pierce uses in the exhibition make evident her ongoing renegotiation of the making, doing, seeing, researching, learning and thinking of objects, of archives, of exhibition and institutional histories and of the complex relations to the publics and users that they convene.


Since 2003, Dublin-based Sarah Pierce has used the term – The Metropolitan Complex – to describe her practice. Despite its institutional resonance, this title does not signify an organization. Instead, it demonstrates Pierce’s broad understanding of cultural work, articulated through methods that often open up the personal and the incidental. Characterized as a way to play with a shared neuroses of place (read ‘complex’ in the Freudian sense), whether a specific locality or a wider set of circumstances that frame interaction, her activity considers forms of gathering, both from the perspective of historical examples and the situations that she initiates.



Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues – Part one:  Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff

Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues – Part two: Mercer Union, Toronto