Project Arts Centre - Dublin
24 / 04 / 2015 - 30 / 05 / 2015

A Breathcrystal is a new exhibition at Project Arts Centre in Dublin, curated by Mihnea Mircan, organized togheter with I rebel—therefore we exist, a series of lectures by artist Sarah Pierce

Concerned with ideas of contamination, cross-bred categories and hybrid modes of sense-making, it includes artworks by Jean-Luc Moulène (France), Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan (Netherlands), Katerina Undo (Greece), Miklos Onucsan (Romania), Tom Nicholson (Australia), Phillip Warnell (UK), Jonas Staal (Netherlands), Fabio Mauri (Italy), Jacqueline Mesmaeker (Belgium), Lawrence Abu Hamdan and a film program in collaboration with the Irish Film Institute, featuring Pierre Huyghe (France), Saskia Olde Wolbers (Netherlands), Sven Johne (Germany), Susan Schuppli (UK), Khadija von Zinnenburg Caroll (UK) and Nicola Martini (Italy).

The exhibition stems from a research project inspired by prehistoric Australian paintings. The Gwion Gwion are a set of vividly pigmented cave drawings, perpetually regenerated by a bacterial colony that inhabits them and makes them resistant to conventional dating protocols.

An archaeological study found that the enduring colour of these prehistoric representations is due to the fact that the original pigment has been replaced by like-coloured, symbiotic bacteria and fungi. Permanently rejuvenating the painted silhouettes, the biofilm releases an acid component in its photosynthesis, etching or framing the pictures deeper into the rock wall.


By conventional standards, such “living pigments” would be considered a form of contamination, yet in this instance infestation is indistinguishable from purity and integrity. Bacteria reproduce the paintings and warp the timeline of their existence – made 40,000 years ago to the same extent that they paint themselves now, in a radical contemporaneity.

Life and art, sculpture and painting, the interiority and exteriority of the body, colonialism and modernist emancipation, “primitive” lore and contemporary scientific observations, prehistory and modernity – the artistic projects brought together in A Breathcrystal purposefully blur these distinctions, cross-breed categories and produce hybrid, infested forms of reality.

I rebel—therefore we exist
A series of lectures by Sarah Pierce

This is the second in a series of invitations to academics and artists to present lectures from their personal research at Project Arts Centre. The aim is to present these bodies of research without further framing or contextualisation – to simply celebrate the extraordinary academic work being done in the field of culture behind the scenes of more public exhibitions.

The title of this lecture series, “I rebel—therefore we exist” draws upon key concepts in Pierce’s dissertation, where rebellion describes a way of knowing that rubs against regimes of legibility, efficacy and legitimacy.

Lecture 1: The Learning Community
Tuesday 21 April, 5pm

Lecture 2: Being-student
Tuesday 4 August, 5pm

Lecture 3: The Community of the Exhibition
Tuesday 13 October, 5pm

Project Arts Centre is Ireland’s leading centre for the development and presentation of contemporary art across all forms of the performing and visual arts in Ireland. 2016 will mark its 50th anniversary, as well as the centenary of the Easter Rising 1916, and will be framed by the idea of rebellion. The visual arts programme presents and commissions new exhibitions with leading artists from around the world.

In addition to the forthcoming exhibitions by David Claerbout and Gretchen Bender, this year we are also delighted to present Riddle of the Burial Grounds which expands across all of the building’s gallery and theatre spaces, curated by Tessa Giblin. Our nationwide tour of Eva Kot’atková & Dominik Lang’s exhibition Wasteland is on at Limerick City Art Gallery until 15 May.