Performance by Dominic Thorpe as part of 'It has no name'.

All images taken by Joseph Carr

Press Release
It Has No Name
Artists: Pauline Cummins, Sandra Johnston, Frances Mezzetti and Dominic Thorpe. Curated by Liz Burns

'It has no name' is an exhibition incorporating live performance, video, sound and installation that explores themes of silencing, abuse, redress and memory. Building on the theme of institutional memory, this live performance and exhibition by visual artists Pauline Cummins, Sandra Johnston, Frances Mezzetti and Dominic Thorpe is a timely reflection on the aftermath of the Irish Government's various commissions of enquiry into abuse within church and state-aided institutions. In the aftermath of the fall out from these commissions of enquiry and reports 'It has no name' is an attempt through art processes to explore ways of dealing with these largely raw and still undigested issues. To coincide with this exhibition, a roundtable discussion exploring memory and testimony and how artists address these subjects in their work will take place Fri 19th April in DIT from 2-4pm.

'It has no name' is part of an ongoing art project that came about in light of the findings of the Irish Government's Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and the subsequent Ferns (2005) 'Ryan', (2009) 'Murphy' (2009) and 'Cloyne' Reports (2011), where a culture of systemic abuse of children and cover up has been exposed within the Catholic Church, and the Irish State. In 2012 the Irish government passed the Children's Bill which strengthens and makes explicit the rights of the child within the Irish constitution. The government's recently published McAleese report on the Magdalene laundries (2013) exposed the level of state involvement in the incarceration of women within these church run institutions.

This exhibition will involve live performances from four visual artists Dominic Thorpe, Pauline Cummins, Sandra Johnston and Frances Mezzetti on Thursday 18th April 2013. (6-8 pm) This will be followed by a roundtable discussion on Friday 19th April in DIT (from 2-4pm) exploring 'Memory and Testimony' and how artists address theses subjects in their work. An exhibition incorporating video, sound and installation by all four artists will be presented in Broadcast Gallery from 18th April – 4th May 2013.

All the artists involved have been developing a significant body of work over the past five to ten years exploring ideas around silencing, abuse, redress, memory, and the representation of truth. As a methodology developed during the project, some of the artists paired up informally with an invited person from another field, in the research and development of the work. It is intended that the results of this reciprocal exchange will feed into what is presented collectively in the exhibition in DIT.


Pauline Cummins performance and video work examines identity, gender and socio-cultural relations connected to different communities in society. Her works Sound the Alarm 1(2008), 2 (2009), and 3(2010) explore themes of power, powerlessness and the rights of the child, using live performance video and sound.

Cummins work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally over the last 30 years and her work is in the permanent collection of The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Ongoing work includes 'Walking in the Way' a collaboration with Frances Mezzetti investigating the construction of gender which has been performed to date in six cities including Ireland, the UK and Istanbul. Her exhibition 'Between One and Another' in the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris 2012 with Canadian artist Sandra Vida, gathered together key works of performative video from both artists from over 30 years of art production. She lectures in the Dept of Sculpture in the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

Sandra Johnston is a visual artist from Northern Ireland, working in the areas of site-responsive performance actions, drawing and video installations. Her performances are experiential in approach, and could be considered as physical relics of some previous moment. Her PhD titled 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt' explored ways in which evidence can be made or unmade, around events, which are essentially experiential phenomena. She collaborated with Dominic Thorpe on Due Process 1 (2010) and Due Process 2 (2011) that re-addressed and reactivated reports and documents released into the public realm, such as 'The Tribunal into War Crimes in Sri Lanka' and 'The Ryan Report'

From Northern Ireland, Johnston has presented work internationally since 1992 in a diverse range of contexts including: performance art festivals, socially-oriented projects and exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale in 2005 and the Liverpool Biennial 2004. Johnston is currently based in Newcastle UK, where she is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art in Northumbria University.

Frances Mezzetti is a Dublin based visual artist. Her work examines the connection of the human subject with the local environment. Her practice is mainly performance with sound and video installations where she uses common materials and everyday actions, with the personal and local history of a given place. Her collaborative work has been with artists, national and international and an ongoing work 'Walking in the Way' with Pauline Cummins investigating the construction of gender has been performed to date in six cities including Ireland, the UK and Istanbul. Previous collaborative work included Still beyond the Pale with Alanna O'Kelly and the Appearance Project with Sandra Johnston and Pauline Cummins.

In 2011 she graduated with an MSc in Art Psychotherapy in Queen Margaret University, Scotland. Recent work includes Links that Bind an interactive sculptural installation in EmergenceSee in Edinburgh. She is a member of The Performance Collective who have performed at Galway Arts Centre, Grace Space New York, Open House Studio Alberta, Canada, and Performance Space London, in 2012

Dominic Thorpe's performance practice explores the potential of presence and experience as a means of generating understanding and response. Over the past number of years he has developed a body of work questioning the role of wider society in relation to revelations of the incarceration and abuse of thousands of children over many decades at institutions run by the Catholic Church on behalf of the Irish state, and the subsequent treatment of those who survived. He has collaborated with Sandra Johnston to make work exploring artistic process as a means of addressing findings of fact in relation to trauma.

He has shown work nationally and internationally including Bergen Museum of Art Norway, the Guangzhou Festival of Live Art China)the Infr'Action Performance Art Festival Venice 2011, Live Action Sweden, Performance Space London, Catalyst Arts Centre Belfast, the Third Space Gallery Belfast, Templebar Gallery Dublin and the RHA Dublin. He has had solo exhibitions/performances at the 126 Gallery Galway, and as part of Tulca Visual Arts Festival Galway.


Liz Burns curates the visual arts programme for Fire Station Artists' Studios in Dublin. Projects commissioned include 'Troubling Ireland'( 2010-11) a think tank for artists with Kuratorisk Aktion, and' Two Monuments' ( 2009) with Artur Zmijewski. She completed her MA in Visual Arts Practices with IADT Dublin 2008/9 and was selected to participate in Independent Curators International's (ICI) Curatorial Intensive in New York in 2011.She continues to develop an independent curatorial practice.

'It has no name' gratefully acknowledges the support of 'Independent Curators International' (ICI) New York through the ICI Curatorial Intensive (Nov 2011) and Fire Station Artists' Studios, Dublin.

For further information email: or Tel: 00 353 1 4024188 or 00 353 1 8069012