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Sarah Browne Exhibition at the Sirius Arts Centre



The artist Sarah Browne examines spoken and unspoken bodily experiences of knowledge, labour and justice. Her practice spans film, publishing and performance, and her works are presented in both galleries and the public realm. She often works with people of formal and informal expertise (children, lawyers, poets) to establish a new community of knowledge or concern through art.

The exhibition Buttercup features two newly created works, a film of the same title and the accompanying sculptural piece Safelight. This is Browne’s first solo show in an Irish institution in a decade, and part of her long-form inquiry into the material culture of language, literacy and confinement being carried out in conjunction with SIRIUS.

Buttercup is commissioned by SIRIUS. The production of Buttercup is supported by Arts & Disability Ireland through the Arts and Disability Connect scheme. The presentation of Buttercup is produced by SIRIUS and curated by Miguel Amado, Director.

The exhibition Buttercup is complemented by the text as if […] wearing anklesocks, by Sarah Hayden, presented as a performance, online and in print. The production of as if […] wearing anklesocks is supported by Kunstverein Aughrim, County Wicklow.LAUNCH EVENTSIRIUS
Saturday, 13 April
Free; no booking requiredSarah Browne, curator Kate Strain, from Kunstverein Aughrim, and Miguel Amado discuss the exhibition, the collaborative approach informing the making of the film Buttercup and the politics and aesthetics of its display, and Browne’s wider artistic and ethical interests.
The conversation is preceded and followed by a screening of Buttercup.

Accessibility Note
Our building has accessibility limitations. There are three steps to the front door, and a temporary wheelchair ramp is available upon request. Our toilets are accessed via stairs and are not open to visitors. Public toilets are beside the Titanic Experience, by The Promenade.

Buttercup plays on the hour and half hour, first with captions and then with audio description.
The film contains flashing imagery that may not be suitable for photosensitive viewers.

Seating is provided.
Sarah Browne, Buttercup (still), 2024. 16mm film and digital video, colour, sound stereo, 28 minutes. English with captions and audio description (alternating). Courtesy of the artist

The film Buttercup isrealised in collaboration with David Donohoe, Helena Gouveia Monteiro, Elaine Lillian Joseph, Daniel Hughes and disabled consultants. It is presented on two screens through a looped sequence alternating between captioned and audio-described versions, developed in dialogue with Joseph and Hughes. These differing sensory translations are accessible for all visitors.
The film consists of a voice-over attempting to describe and comprehend a childhood photograph, framed as a traditional family portrait. This photograph, which recurs throughout, depicts a girl wearing a Communion dress with her father and her pet cow, the eponymous Buttercup, at a farm. Other imagery takes in views of cattle and pasture at the site of the photograph, suggesting a rural scene, either bucolic or extractivist.
The film evolves through a narration in the style of a memoir, responding to the institutions of family and property implied by the photograph. The narrator approaches the photograph repeatedly, and through her ongoing rumination, unfolds entangled relationships of human and animal, agriculture and artmaking, mothering and domestication, care and violence. The farm can be viewed as a place of learning about society at large that involves implicit hierarchies, from gendered forms of labour to interactions with disability and the allocation of autonomy or freedom.
The footage includes still and slow-moving images, and was shot in 16mm and produced through cameraless animation on celluloid by Gouveia Monteiro and Browne. The score is produced by Donohoe, and combines field recordings from the farm with experimental drone and brass chords, generating alternating physical sensations of warmth and unease, and thus communicating in ways the narrator struggles to voice.
Sarah Browne, Buttercup (still), 2024. 16mm film and digital video, colour, sound stereo, 28 minutes. English with captions and audio description (alternating). Courtesy of the artist

Safelight functions in the gallery as a darkroom light, and suggests a heating lamp for newborn animals and a Sacred Heart, the latter a domestic artefact of devotion in the Catholic tradition. Tucked discreetly behind it are a cattle ID tag and a Saint Brigid’s cross, used to protect animals in cowsheds. Thus, the sculpture syncretises state/bureaucratic procedures of agriculture with animism, and attends to experiences of danger, perception and exposure.

Browne uses ‘parallel play’ as a neurodivergent method of collaboration, while refusing any pathological judgment devaluing such engagement. As part of this approach, she has invited writer Sarah Hayden to respond to Buttercup. Hayden’s contribution, as if […] wearing anklesocks, forms a distinct text that is interdependent with the film, intended to be heard in the air or read on the page, and is presented as a performance accompanying the exhibition.
Sarah Browne is an artist based in Cork, Ireland. Recent commissions, solo shows and publications include Echo’s Bones and Echo’s Bones: a parallel play, Fingal County Council, Ireland (2022, 2023); Public feeling, South Dublin County Council (2019); and Report to an Academy, Marabouparken, Sundbyberg, Sweden (2017). Browne curated The Law is a White Dog, the 2020 edition of TULCA, Galway, Ireland. In 2009, Browne and Gareth Kennedy co-represented Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale, both individually and as the duo Kennedy Browne. Browne’s work is part of the collections of the Arts Council of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Sarah Browne, Buttercup (still), 2024. 16mm film and digital video, colour, stereo sound, 28 minutes. English with captions and audio description (alternating). Courtesy of the artist
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