Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Sinéad Gillain 

BA [Hons] Art

Sinéad Gillain is a French/Irish conceptual artist. She was born in Paris and is currently based in Dublin. Sinéad explores quite political themes within her work, focusing on her experience as a woman. These themes range from everyday clichés women hear, to the experience of taking hormonal contraception and dealing with the side effects. Sinéad typically uses writing within her practice and to inform her performance art. Her main goal is to challenge her audience and help people ask questions about themselves, others and the world around them. Her work was shown in the IADT exhibition In the Making: Butter (Pallas Projects, 2023).

Project Description

This project focuses on hormonal contraception. I explore side effects and feelings of dependency and uncertainty through photography, performance art and text. I find spoken word incredibly powerful, whether performed or read. A full stop has so much power. You have so much control over what the reader or listener experiences, commanding time and space. A pill (Dianette) is taken every day, at the same time, it's always there, it's a constant in your life. When it’s gone, there's something missing. Your body physically misses it and you go into withdrawal. I explore how scary it is to feel emotional attachments to this tiny little pill. I wanted to personify the pill Dianette, she is strong, powerful and popular. She has quite a mean girl aesthetic. I want to make the experience accessible to people who might not understand. I think it's easier to normalise the dependency and toxic relationship with a person rather than a contraceptive pill.

Understanding the relationship between art and text through Mel Bochner and Jenny Holzer.

This thesis explores two case studies; Mel Bochner and Jenny Holzer, diving into their exploration of art and text within their work, noting their similarities and differences in subject and technique. I chose these two artists as they both explore the relationship of art and text but in completely different ways. Jenny Holzer’s work most resembles my studio work, challenging her audience with different political viewpoints. Mel Bochner also uses the relationship of art and text but uses the text itself as a more visual tool. Both artists explore the relationship between art and text, however I chose to compare these two artists as Mel Bochner focuses on the “art of saying nothing”, whereas Jenny Holzer focuses on “the art of saying something”. I am using both Bochner and Holzer to showcase how textual art forces us to question the world and ourselves, and can be used as a tool to communicate ideas which not only empower people, but also liberate them.