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For the first in a series of Scene of the Myth: Dialogues, renowned curator, writer and educator, Beatrice von Bismarck, at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig is invited to present a keynote response to Sarah Pierce: Scene of the Myth, a major solo exhibition presented at IMMA.

This talk considers central aspects of Sarah Pierce´s practice and the artists approach to relations – relations among things and people, spanning various time-zones and far apart spaces, discursively, bodily or socially. Von Bismarck’s lecture will be followed by a conversation with artist Sarah Pierce and guest curator Rike Frank, European Kunsthalle.

As von Bismarck explains: “Specific for these relations is their agential quality, which unfolds its effects analytically as well as in terms of generating new constellations. From a curatorial perspective they have infrastructural quality, allowing these newly established relations not only to redefine the meaning, function and status of all those involved in her works, but also to conceive institutions otherwise – as different from the existing ones, dynamic, situational and more ephemeral than their embodied protocols and rules make them appear. Focusing particularly on the historicity and temporality that the relations develop the talk will trace some of the critical implications of this potential”.

This marks the opening evening of the popular IMMA Outdoors evening programme of events commencing on 8 June and runs until 23 September 2023.

Saturday 2 September, 11am – 6pm

Scene of the Myth: Dialogues Series #2

The second IMMA Talks event in this series takes the form of seminar, performances and gathering with invited international guests and commissioners of selected works by the artist Sarah Pierce.

The event offers an accumulation of practices and ideas shared, discussed and performed over the course of the exhibition, marking the finale weekend as the exhibition draws to a close.

More programme details to come in July. Booking lines open a month in advance of live talk events.

About Speakers

Beatrice von Bismarck

Beatrice von Bismarck teaches art history, visual culture and cultures of the curatorial at the Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst) Leipzig. She worked as a curator of the department of 20th-century art at Städel Museum, Frankfurt, was co-founder and co-director of the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg, initiator of the M.A. Program Cultures of the Curatorial and co-directed the itinerant TRANScuratorial Academy (Berlin, Mumbai, Phnom Penh 2017-2018). Recent publications include “Archives on Show. Revoicing, Shapeshifting, Displacing – A Curatorial Glossary”, 2022 (Archive Books, Berlin) (ed.), “Broken Relations: Infrastructure, Aesthetics, and Critique”, 2022 (Spector Books, Leipzig) (co-ed. with Martin Beck, Sabeth Buchmann, and Ilse Lafer) and the monograph, “The Curatorial Condition”, 2022 (Sternberg Press, London).

Artist: Sarah Pierce
Since 2003, Sarah Pierce has used the term The Metropolitan Complex to describe her project, characterised by forms of gathering, both historical examples and those she initiates. The processes of research and presentation that she undertakes demonstrate a broad understanding of cultural work and a continual renegotiation of the terms for making art, the potential for dissent, and self-determination. Pierce works with installation, performance, archives, talks and papers, often opening these up to the personal and the incidental in ways that challenge received histories and accepted forms. Her interests include radical pedagogies and student work, art historical legacies and figures such as El Lissitzky, August Rodin, and Eva Hesse, and theories of community and love founded in Maurice Blanchot and Georges Bataille.

Pierce’s work has shown widely in the EU, US and Canada with major exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2016), CCS Hessel Museum & CCS Galleries, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (2016 and 2012), and Tate Modern and MuMOK Vienna (2010). In 2014 she presented a major solo exhibition in three-parts, Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues, developed jointly with Walter Phillips Gallery Banff AL, Mercer Union Toronto ON, and SBC Galerie Montreal QB. Other solo presentations include: No Title at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Derry (2017); The Meaning of Greatness at Project Arts Centre (2006). She has participated in major international biennials including Glasgow International (2018), Eva International (2016, 2012), Lyon Biennial (2011), International Sinop Biennial (2010), Moscow Biennial (2007), and in 2005, Pierce represented Ireland in a group exhibition at the 51st Venice Biennale.

Publications on her work include No Title, co-edited with Sara Greavu, published by CCA Derry, and designed by Kaisa Lassinaro with essays by T.J. Clark, Karl Holmqvist, Mason Leaver-Yap, and Claire Potter; and Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors, edited by Rike Frank, published by Book Works, London and designed by Peter Maybury with essays by Melissa Gronlund, Tom Holert, Barbara Clausen, Declan Long, and Padraíc E. Moore. Pierce regularly writes and has chapters in many publications, most recently in, Of(f) Our Times: The Aftermath of the Ephemeral and other Curatorial Anachronics (Sternberg 2019).

Guest Curator: Rike Frank
Rike Frank works as a curator and writer and teaches exhibition histories and curatorial practice. She is Executive Director of the Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme, as well as co-director of the European Kunsthalle. Her practice often reflects on temporality, textility as well as instituting and the documentation of curatorial articulations. Past institutional affiliations include Associate Professor of Exhibition Studies at the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts/KHIO (2014–2018); head of the exhibition space at Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig (2012–2014); member of the Artistic Program team, European Kunsthalle (2010–2012); Curator, Secession, Vienna (2001–2005); head of the Curatorial Office, documenta 12 (2007). Publications as editor and co-editor include Of(f) Our Times. Curatorial Anachronics (2019), Ane Hjort Guttu. Writings, Conversations, Scripts (2018), Textiles: Open Letter (2015), Textile Theorien der Moderne. Alois Riegl in der Kunstkritik (2015), Timing – On the Temporal Dimension of Exhibiting (2014), and Sketches of Universal History: Compiled from Several Authors by Sarah Pierce (2013).

About Scene of the Myth

In 2023, IMMA will present Sarah Pierce: Scene of the Myth, guest curated by Rike Frank and the European Kunsthalle. The expansive solo exhibition consists of performances, videos, installations, and archives. Sarah Pierce, who lives and works in Dublin, relocated to Ireland from the US in 2000.

Rike Frank has brought together twelve works, spanning twenty years, to highlight patterns of making and thinking that define Pierce’s art practice.

Sarah Pierce: Scene of the Myth exhibition will run from Friday, 24 March – Sunday 03 September 2023, Main Galleries, East Wing. For more details see here.

Listen Back

This talk will be audio recorded and available to listen back to from 30 March 2023.


Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.