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Through moving-image, performance, text and publication, Illona's research explores the contemporary deadlock between individual and collective notions of wellbeing implicit within the spatio-social apparatus of health, and the role that histories of experiments in social- planning and health might play in understanding and rethinking these relationships. Through practice-led enquiry and archival analysis, I re-examine what common-grounds or common- goods might mean, and what is activated through my intervention within this discourse.

This body of work is the result of experimental collaboration including: Department of Neurology, University of Cambridge, Human Computer Interaction Design, City University, Materials Science and Engineering, Sheffield University, and Space Syntax Laboratory, Bartlett, UCL, Wellcome Trust, Arup Archives, Sheffield City Archives and RIBA archives.


More about Ilona

Ilona Sagar works with a diverse range of media spanning moving-image, text, performance and assemblage, forming research led works that resonate with the politically charged social and historic infrastructures found in the public and private spaces we inhabit.

By instrumentalising historical archives and their institutions, not as an encounter with a safely sealed past, but as something current and unstable that speaks urgently to our present condition, she explores the links between language, surface, technologies and the body through our increasingly mediated encounters in social, political and experiential space.

A significant aspect of her practice is the broad cross-disciplinary dialogue generated through collaboration with a range of art and scientific disciplines; including dance, architecture and neurology. Illusion and material [dis]honesty set the stage for works which seek to seduce, alluding to something familiar yet other. In 2018 she won the Research in Film Award at BAFTA HQ, is the Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki, artist for 2021 and a current resident of Somerset House Studios.

2010–12 MFA in Sculpture, Royal College of Art, London

2005–08 BA (Hons) Fine Art (Studio Practice and Contemporary Critical Studies) Goldsmiths College, London

2018, AHRC Research in Film Award BAFTA HQ

2017–18, Wellcome Trust Award

2015, Research Bursary, Firstsite Gallery, Colchester

2012, Dazed Digital Casio 30


Forthcoming commissions include ‘The Radio Ballads’ Serpentine Gallery, where she is one of four new commissions with Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock and Rory Pilgrim (2020/22), 'Create, Capture, Organise, Pluralise' Group exhibition, Somerset House (2021) and is embarking on a new solo commission with Firstsite Gallery, Colchester (2022/23).

Recent projects include: ‘Deep Structure’(2019) S1 ArtSpace, Sheffield, ‘Living with Buildings’, Wellcome Collection, London (2018/2019); ‘Self Service’ publication and event series, CCA and GOMA, Glasgow as part of Glasgow International (2018); ‘Correspondence O’, solo exhibition at South London Gallery, London (2017/2018); ‘GLORIA’, Yinka Shonibare Guest Projects 10 year anniversary, London (2018); HereAfter group show as part of the SPACE HereAfter residency, The White Building, London (2017); solo project at Pump House Gallery, London as part of ‘The Ground We Tread’ (2016).

MIT press: Giving Bodies Back to Data Image Makers, Bricolage, and Reinvention in Magnetic Resonance Technology, Silvia Casini
An examination of the bodily, situated aspects of data-visualisation work, looking at visualisation practices around the development of MRI technology. My film practice and methodology are referenced, and my work Correspondence O featured in this publication.

Summer 2021 CARELESS, Ed. Sharon Kivland, Ma Bibliotheque

Oct 2021, Despite the appeals

Apr 2018, Self-Service, Glasgow International

Dec 2016, In the event that, Akerman and Daly

Jan 2014, Stop, Look Listen Jerwood Foundation / ArtLicks

July 2012, Tempered Taste Buds, RCA distribution

Apr 2011, Her Chambre Bleue, Art Licks, issue 3

Solo exhibitions

Oct–Dec 2019, Deep Structure, solo exhibition and event series, S1 ArtSpace, Sheffield, UK

Dec–Feb 2017/18 Correspondence O, solo exhibition and event series, South London Gallery, London

Group exhibitions and publications

Oct–Mar 2018/19 Living with Buildings, group exhibition, The Wellcome Collection, London

Sept 2018 For Some Future Time, South London Gallery, London

Apr–May 2018, Self-Service, publication and events series, CCA, GOMA, Glasgow International

The Suite (212) Sessions, no. 1 - Juliet Jacques and Ilona Sagar ​ In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic and shutting down of much of the UK's cultural life, we have decided to bring you a series of interviews with contemporary artists, writers, filmmakers and other cultural figures, conducted via Skype, about their practices, the political issues that inspire them and the socio-economic conditions that have shaped their work.

Deep Structure S1 ArtSpace, Sheffield – Talk series:

Data Bodies, Social Objects with: Prof. Alex Taylor is a Sociologist and Co-Director of the Centre for Human Centred Interaction Design at City, University of London. Prof. Laura Vaughan is Professor of Urban Form and Society and Director of the Space Syntax Laboratory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Walking conversation with Historian Dr Helen Smith and material scientist Prof. John Provis

Soft Power, Care and the Commons with: Dr Julia Udall, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University, Jack Czauderna was a GP in East End of Sheffield and in the early 1980's ran an equal pay collective, and original residents of Park Hill Estate

Living With Buildings, Exhibition talk, The Wellcome Collection, London

Self-Service, Publication and events series Glasgow International, CCA and GOMA

Nature, Health, and Built Environment Dr. Daniele Quercia, Bell Labs Cambridge and artist Ilona Sagar

Cambridge University, with Q&A and live stream with Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Stanford and Yale Universities

Dr Stefan Nowotny and Ilona Sagar in conversation.Interfaces Monthly 062018: Exercises in Health and Wellness, London

Private bodies in Public spaces? Conceptions of healthcare and subjectivity today, Prof. Peg Rawes, Prof. Anita Berlin, David Roberts, Ilona Sagar Institute for Advanced Studies, UCL, London