Dr Ilona Sagar

Staff details

Position Lecturer
Department Art
Email I.Sagar (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Ilona Sagar

Ilona Sagar is a current resident artist at Somerset House Studios and is a recipient of the Stanley Picker Arts Fellowship. Forthcoming commissions include Alvar Aalto Foundation (2024) and solo commission with Firstsite Gallery, Colchester in partnership with the National Gallery (2026). Recent exhibitions include ‘The Radio Ballads’ Serpentine Gallery, where she was one of four new commissions with Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock and Rory Pilgrim (2022). In 2022 she was the Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki, artist in residence. In 2018 Ilona Sagar won The AHRC Research in Film Award at BAFTA HQ.

Research interests

Through moving-image, installation, performance, and publication, Ilona Sagar'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. 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.

Publications and research outputs

Artist's Book

Hendry, Kirsty and Sagar, Ilona. 2018. Self-Service.

Book Section

Sagar, Ilona and Casini, Silvia. 2025. Ilona Sagar and Silvia Casini: Dialogues. In: Fiona Johnstone and Ilona Sagar, eds. Confabulations: Art Practice, Art History, Critical Medical Humanities. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Sagar, Ilona. 2023. How We Hold: Rehearsals for Art and Social Change. In: Jemma Egan; Layla Gatens; Elizabeth Graham; Amal Khalaf and Alex Thorp, eds. How We Hold: Rehearsals for Art and Social Change. London: Walter Koenig/Serpentine Gallery. ISBN 9783753 305035

Sagar, Ilona and Walker, Adam. 2021. Forward. In: Gemma Blackshaw, ed. I care by.... London: Research Communiqués: RCA Fine Arts and Humanities, Royal College of Art., pp. 9-18. ISBN 9781838354336

Sagar, Ilona. 2021. An Anatomy of Maintenance. In: Gemma Blackshaw and Sharon Kivland, eds. Care(less) - a supplement to On Care. London: Ma Bibliothèque, pp. 74-80. ISBN 9781910055861

Sagar, Ilona and Gunning, Lucy. 2013. Being Without Walls: Art Licks Weekend. In: Holly Willats, ed. Being Without Walls: Art Licks Weekend. Ludlow: Jerwood Foundation.

Conference or Workshop Item

Sagar, Ilona. 2024. 'Art & the Critical Medical Humanities: Confabulations X Health & Care at the RCA'. In: Art & the Critical Medical Humanities: Confabulations X Health & Care at the RCA. Royal College of Art, United Kingdom 19 - 21 June 2024.

Sagar, Ilona. 2024. 'Artist Talk Ilona Sagar'. In: Wednesday Artist Lectures. University of Reading, Department of Art, United Kingdom 28 February 2024.

Sagar, Ilona; Sweetapple, Kate and Kasunic, Jacqui. 2023. 'Encountering Archives'. In: Encountering Archives. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 29 - 30 November 2023.

O’Neill, Paul; Rito, Carolina; Baroni, Bassam El; Sagar, Ilona; Krysa, Joasia; El Broul, Dahlia and Miltiadis, Constantinos. 2022. 'Publics curatorial agency - Shape Helsinki Symposium'. In: Open Up and Shape Helsinki Symposium. Helsinki, United Kingdom 9 – 10 June 2022.

Sagar, Ilona and Walker, Adam. 2021. 'Glasgow School of Art Friday Event: Care'. In: Glasgow School of Art Friday Event: Care. Glasgow School of Art, United Kingdom 15 October 2021.

Film/Video

Sagar, Ilona. 2022. The Body Blow (extract).

Sagar, Ilona. 2019. Deep Structure.

Sagar, Ilona. 2018. Correspondence O.

Show/Exhibition

Sagar, Ilona. 2022. The Body Blow. In: "Radio Ballads", Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom, 31 March – 29 May 2022.

Sagar, Ilona. 2021. Create, Capture, Organise, Pluralise. In: "Create, Capture, Organise, Pluralise", Somerset House, London, United Kingdom, 1 July - 31 October 2021.

Sagar, Ilona. 2018. Correspondence O. In: "Living with Buildings", Wellcome Collection, London, United Kingdom, 4 October 2018 – 3 March 2019.

Sagar, Ilona. 2017. Correspondence O. In: "Correspondence O", South London Gallery, United Kingdom, 13 December 2017 - 25 February 2018.

Further profile content

Conferences and talks

2023: The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities' (CRASSH)
Screening of The Body Blow and discussion hosted by The University of Cambridge (with Dr. Layla Renshaw, Zsuzsanna Ihar and Dr. Paola Filippucci)

2022: Environmental Dis-ease. Co-productions of Toxic Politics - University of Vienna, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Ilona Sagar artist talk and Screening

2022: Durham University Confabulations: data devices diagnosis
Biomedical imaging & artists’ practices: Artists Ilona Sagar and Flis Holland in conversation with Samantha Lippett

2022: Publics curatorial agency - Shape Helsinki Symposium
Paul O’Neill, Carolina Rito, Bassam El Baroni, Ilona Sagar, Joasia Krysa, Dahlia El Broul, Constantinos Miltiadis