December 8, 2008 - FOUR - A thing of beauty, colour and love: Sarah Pierce
December 8, 2008

A thing of beauty, colour and love: Sarah Pierce

Sarah Pierce
A thing of beauty, colour and love

11 December 2008 – 31 January 2009

119 Capel Street,
Dublin 1, Ireland

Opening: Wednesday 10 December 2008 6-8 pm. Special performance by the Copenhagen based group the Shadow Blasters at 8 pm.

Since 2003 Sarah Pierce (born USA, 1968, lives in Dublin) has used an umbrella term – The Metropolitan Complex – to describe her art practice. Despite its institutional resonance, this title does not signify an organisation. Instead, it covers various discursive working methods, involving papers, interviews, archives, talks and exhibitions. Pierce characterises The Metropolitan Complex as a way to play with the hang-ups (read ‘complex’ in the Freudian sense) of finding one’s place. Her project demonstrates a broad understanding of cultural work, one that is articulated through both institutional and personal patterns of organisation. The processes of research and presentation that the artist undertakes are designed to highlight the potential for dissent and self-determination within such structures.

Central to her activity is the consideration of forms of gathering, both historical examples and situations that she initiates. Her projects explore the slippages between individual work and the institutional context, providing a telling assessment of how the structures through which people gather and organise are connected to political gestures in art. Of particular interest to Pierce’s exploration of privacy and openness is the archive, both personal and institutional, and her work often generates the archive, not through a static ordering, but through a constant reassessment and rearrangement of elements, where spontaneous proximity leads to unpredictable connections.

FOUR presents recent work commissioned by the ICA London, for which Pierce undertook a period of research in the ICA’s own archive, focusing on two seminal events in the organisation’s history – the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form (1971) and the conference The State of British Art, A Debate (1978). Each event connects to debates around art-making and organization: Pierce presents both the practical remnants of institutional organisation, including redundant plinths and archival documents; and the broader concerns of political organisation, protest and teaching, through interviews and documentation, and video of a closed workshop in which participants acted out gestures and recited quotes from bystanders at various political demonstrations. The work’s title (which refers to one such quote) changes with each new site of presentation.

—c (Assistant Curator, ICA London)

Opening Hours:
Tuesday: 11 am to 5 pm, Wednesday: 11 am to 5 pm, Thursday: 11 am to 7 pm, Friday: 11 am to 5 pm & Saturday: 12 to 5 pm

With thanks to:
Institute of Contemporary Art London, Tate Britain Archives, Project Art Centre and Tessa Giblin, de Appel Library and Archive, If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Revolution, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, and Ronan McCrea.


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