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Sarah Pierce, b.1968

No Title2017

No Title (2016) is an expansive project by Sarah Pierce that considers the condition of dementia in relation to the protocols of art making. Anchored in a series of modestly produced videos No Title actively questions the ethics of representation, and the limitations of clinical discourse in re-thinking subject-hood around dementia. Filming in her family home, and assisted by her niece operating camera, Pierce intimately guides her parents through a series of table-top exercises she developed, that speak of art-making, of habitude, of domesticity, but also unflinchingly of memory, of loss, and profound familial love. No Title pictures the painful process of renegotiating familial relations surrounding ‘the dementia subject’. When concepts like mother / daughter / husband are no longer reciprocated how do we relinquish our most primal bonds in the absence of terms to describe these radical new relations?

No Title emerged out a process of research in Derry where Pierce worked closely with curator Sara Greavu and artist John Beattie to develop a material vocabulary of dementia. Protocols that are repetitive, insistent, confabulating and withdrawing on the one hand, and administrative, corrective, protecting and yielding on the other, reveal dementia as a shared, dynamic condition. Each video in No Title is accompanied by a pdf that includes a script, an image inventory, and a text that responds to these protocols, expanding and attaching to other transformative narratives, including art. The currently accepted policies around care that regulate how subjects with dementia participate and appear in projects like this one, paradoxically, means they are often precluded from appearing at all, thus limiting the collective imaginary. The project’s title, No Title, refers to this absence and the many artworks where a nameable subject is missing.

The installation includes drawings, objects and materials used during filming and an accompanying portfolio of writings contributed by Sara Greavu, TJ Clark, Karl Holmqvist, Mason Leaver-Yap, Claire Potter and Jacob Wren. No Title was originally commissioned by CCA Derry as part of the Our Neighbourhood public programme.

No Title was commissioned by the Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry for an exhibition in 2017 curated by Sara Greavu, as part of the Our Neighbourhood public programme (funded by Esmee Fairbairn) where Sarah Pierce was the lead artist in 2016.

MediumSix single channel videos (exercises 1 – 6), drawings on paper (exercise 7), objects and materials
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2021, 2021
Item NumberIMMA.4200
Not on view
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Image Caption
Sarah Pierce, No Title, 2017, Six single channel videos (exercises 1 – 6), drawings on paper (exercise 7), objects and materials, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2021, 2021

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Sarah Pierce b.1968

Since 2003, Sarah Pierce has used the term The Metropolitan Complex to describe her art. Despite its institutional resonance, this title does not signify an organisation. Instead, it demonstrates Pierce’s broad understanding of cultural work, articulated through methods that open up to the personal and incidental.
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