Towards a Newer Laocoön

NCAD Gallery presents Towards a Newer Laocoön, a solo exhibition by Sarah Pierce

Thursday, 4th October - Wednesday, 7th November 2012

Opening view 6pm, Thursday 4th Oct 2012. Exhibition continues, 5th Oct - 7th Nov 2012, Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
Towards a Newer Laocoön, Installation shot
Photo: Vincent Lestienne

NCAD Gallery presents Towards a Newer Laocoön, a solo exhibition by Sarah Pierce commissioned by the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in collaboration with NCAD Gallery.

Sarah Pierce’s Towards a Newer Laocoön, an exhibition of new work is the result of an IFI commission under Director, Sarah Glennie (2009-2012) funded by Per Cent for Art and curated in collaboration with Anne Kelly at the NCAD Gallery. For this exhibition Pierce will exhibit a three-part project that includes archival materials from the Irish Film Institute’s Irish Film Archives, the NIVAL collection at NCAD, and the latest chapter of her on-going work, The Question Would be the Answer to the Question, Are you happy?

Towards a Newer Laocoön reflects Pierce’s interest in ways of organising, from student government to the civil rights movement. In this exhibition Pierce focuses on an intense moment of dissent at NCAD in 1969, when students damaged the academy’s iconic Laocoön sculpture, among other academic artworks. Damaged works have been brought out of NCAD storage for the exhibition and are accompanied by news clippings from the NIVAL collection. These physical fragments of past events are accompanied by viewing stations showing IFI Irish Film Archive footage that reflect Pierce’s extensive research period in the Archive that hinged on the years 1959-1979. This period in the Archive is represented through a predominance of amateur footage and two major collections of contemporary indigenous documentarie and newsreels – Radharc and Gael Linn.

The artist’s process of selection often involves a curatorial approach, where she carefully selects and displays items from an archive and shows these materials alongside her own artworks. For Towards a Newer Laocoön the archival material is accompanied by a new work that relates to materials in both archives, namely an idea of foreignness and student culture, and how these concepts ‘transmit’ over several generations. This filmed piece is the fourth and latest chapter of her work, The Question Would be the Answer to the Question, Are you happy?

For each chapter of this project Pierce invites a small group of local university students to a screening of Chronique d’un été, (1961) directed by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. The film screening, in French with English subtitles, is followed by a roundtable discussion among the students. Both moments are filmed: the students watching the film, and the discussion. The students represent a mix of academic disciplines from political science, sociology, anthropology, art history to fine art.
In each chapter, the roundtable discussion takes place in a language other than English, in this case it is in Gaelic. A professional interpreter is present for both the screening and the discussion, and he/she produces a simultaneous translation of the conversation that is recorded and forms the dominant soundtrack for the new film.

For more information on the work of Sarah Pierce please visit

• Sarah Pierce in a public conversation with Sarah Glennie NCAD Gallery - 4.30pm, 25th October 2012
• Sarah Pierce presents Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s film Chronique d’un étè (1961)
IFI - 6.30pm, 10th October 2012

NCAD Gallery 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. Open Mon – Fri 10am- 5pm. Admission is free.
Contact: Anne Kelly Curator NCAD Gallery Programme