Publication / Vis Art / 08-08 March 2021

The Metropolitan Complex Paper No. 18.

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 Pierce 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. She is based in Dublin.

The Metropolitan Complex Paper No. 18 roundtable participants are curator and writer Bassam El Baroni, curator, writer and educator Pip Day, former Curator of Visual Arts of Project Arts Centre Lívia Páldi, artist, researcher, writer Milica Tomić, and artist Sarah Pierce. The conversation took place over the video conferencing service Zoom between Helsinki, Berlin, Vienna and Dublin on Tuesday 15 December 2020. The conversation was recorded, and has been transcribed and edited. There was no audience present.

The Metropolitan Complex Paper No. 18 was commissioned and produced by Project Arts Centre, Dublin.

Learn about The Metropolitan Complex and read previous issues of The Metropolitan Complex Papers.


The Metropolitan Complex Paper No. 18. was commissioned and produced by Project Arts Centre, Dublin.

Special thanks to Jaclyn Arndt for the proofreading.


Bassam El Baroni is assistant professor in curating and mediating art at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland and former lecturer at the Dutch Art Institute, ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem. His upcoming curatorial projects include: Infrahauntologies at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany, 2021. And, his previous projects include: Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain, 2010 (co-curator); the Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway, 2013 (co-curator); Agitationism the 36th Eva International – Ireland’s Biennial, Limerick, 2014; What Hope Looks like after Hope (On Constructive Alienation) at HOME WORKS 7, Beirut, 2015.

Pip Day is a curator, writer, administrator and educator based in Montréal and Berlin. As Director/Curator at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyaang/Montréal between 2012 and 2020, she developed dozens of exhibitions, events and long-term research projects including Sovereignty; Água Viva (after Clarice Lispector); and Colors: for 14 women’s voices (after Julius Eastman), among others. She has worked with artists, writers and curators Anna Boghiguian, Dana Michel, Ursula Johnson, Sepake Angiama, Maria Hupfield, Sarah Pierce, Rike Frank, Tania Bruguera, Pablo Sigg, Ashon Crawley, cheyanne turions, Jackie Wang, Zacharias Kunuk, Irmgard Emmelhainz, María Berríos, Pablo Lafuente, Suzanne Kite, Harun Farocki, Atelier Céladon and many others. She was Co-Curator of the 2016 Santa Fe Biennial. She was a recipient of the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Curatorial Research Fellowship for the project Spatial Practices in Revolution at Centro Tlatelolco, Mexico City (2011 to present). Pip founded the research organization el-instituto in Mexico City in 2008 and was founder and director of teratoma’s Residencias Internacionales en México (RIM) and Estudios Curatoriales, the first curatorial studies program in Latin America, both in 2002. She has taught on curatorial programs at Bard College and the Royal College, and was a Lecturer at Goldsmiths’ MFA in Curating. She has published and lectured extensively.

Lívia Páldi worked as Curator of Visual Arts at Project Arts Centre, Dublin between March 2017 and March 2021. She was the director of BAC – Baltic Art Center, Visby, Sweden between 2012 and 2015 and chief curator of the Műcsarnok / Kunsthalle Budapest between 2007 and 2011. She has organised talks, discussions, workshops and numerous exhibitions and has also edited several books and exhibition catalogues. She was one of the curatorial agents of dOCUMENTA (13) and member of the OFF-Biennale Budapest curatorial board in 2016. In 2017 she initiated the project Active Archive – Slow Institution, a major research project with exhibitions and events that delves into Project’s rich 50+year history, uncovering the history (or rather histories) of one of Ireland’s oldest public art institutions.

Milica Tomić is a Yugoslav-born artist. Since 2014, she is a Head of Contemporary Art Institute (Faculty of Architecture) at the University of Technology in Graz (Austria). Her work centers on researching, unearthing and bringing to public debate issues related to political and economic violence, trauma and social amnesia; with particular attention to the ‘short circuit’ between intimacy and politics. As a response to the commitment to social change and the new forms of collectivity it engenders,  Tomić has made a marked shift from individual to collective artistic practice. Today, she is a founding member of the new Yugoslav art/theory group, “Grupa Spomenik” [Monument Group] (2002), founder of the cross-disciplinary project Four Faces of Omarska (2010) and initiator of the Working group Four Faces of Omarska.

Sarah Pierce’s work has shown widely in the EU, US and Canada with major exhibtions including Positions #2 at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and We are the Center at CCS Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson (both 2016), The Artist and the State at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2015), Push and Pull at Tate Modern and MuMOK Vienna (2010), and Nought to Sixty at the ICA London (2009). 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 curated by Sara Greavu at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Derry (2017), Pathos of Distance curated by Donal Maguire at the National Gallery or Ireland (2016), Monogamy, an exhibition by Gerard Byrne and Sarah Pierce, curated by Tirdad Zolghadr at the CCS Bard College, New York (2013); The Artist Talks, curated by Emily Pethick at The Showroom, London (2012); 1961-2011, curated by Mark Sladen at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; and The Meaning of Greatness curated by Grant Watson at Project Arts Centre (2006). She has participated in major international biennials including Glasgow International with Chapter 13 (2018), Eva International (2016, 2012), Lyon Biennial (2011), International Sinop Biennial (2010), the Moscow Biennial (2007), and in 2005, Pierce represented Ireland in a group exhibition at the 51st Venice Biennale.



Project Arts Centre is proud to be supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council.

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