Exhibition

Amanda Coogan
I’ll sing you a song from around the town

Amanda Coogan is one of the most exciting contemporary visual artists practicing in the arena of Performance Art. She is at the forefront of some of the most exciting and prolific durational performances to date. Her extraordinary work is challenging, provocative and always visually stimulating.

I’ll sing you a song from around the town will include both sculpture and live performance. Week one, Coogan will perform the first piece. Week two will see Coogan begin the second performance while a collaborator will continue the first piece, culminating in all six performances running simultaneously by week six.

Her live performances are referents for her video and photographic works. Her expertise lies in her ability to condense an idea to its very essence and communicate it through her body. Coogan’s recent practice has been concentrating on durational performance presented as living installation in the gallery. She presents both solo works and group performance. The long durational aspect of her presentations invites elements of chaos with the unknown and unpredicted erupting dynamically through her live artworks.

“Coogan, whose work usually entails ritual, endurance and cultural iconography, is the leading practitioner of performance in the country.”   – The Irish Times, 2010

Performance Schedule

The performances will be:
Wednesday 3pm to 8pm
Thursday 12pm to 5pm
Friday 12pm to 5pm
Saturday 12pm to 5pm
Sunday 12pm to 5pm

Please note, there are no live performances on Mondays or Tuesdays or September 16th

The live schedule starts on September 9th

Week 1: 9th to 13th September
The Passing (Amanda Coogan)

Week 2: 17th to 20th September
Bubble up in Blue (Amanda Coogan)
The Passing (Tara Carroll)
Culture Night September 18th – 3 to 8pm

Week 3: 23rd to 27th September
You told me to wash and clean my ears (Amanda Coogan)
Bubble up in Blue (Niamh Cooney)
The Passing (23rd, 24th Laura Sarah Dowdall, 25th, 26th, 27th Karen Gleeson)

Week 4: 30th September to 4th October
Spit Spit, Scrub Scrub (Amanda Coogan)
You told me to wash and clean my ears (30th, 1st, 2nd Alvean Jones, 3rd, 4th Lisa Freeman)
Bubble up in Blue (Tara Carroll)
The Passing (Aine Ni Laoghaire)

Week 5: 7th to 11th October
Yellow (Amanda Coogan)
Spit Spit, Scrub Scrub (Justine McDonnell)
You told me to wash and clean my ears (Leah Smith)
Bubble up in Blue (Sinead Corcoran)
The Passing (Laura O’Connor)

Week 6: 14th to 18th October
Out in, breathing my mother, in out (Amanda Coogan – new performance)
Yellow (Sinead Corcoran)
Spit Spit, Scrub Scrub (Enya Fortuna)
You told me to wash and clean my ears (Ann Maria Healy)
Bubble up in Blue (Celina Muldoon)
The Passing (Inma Pavon)

Amanda Coogan’s contribution to Performance Art in Ireland

by Áine Phillips, September 2015

On the occasion of I’ll sing you a song from around the town at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, September 2015

Amanda Coogan’s early work, when she arrived back in Ireland in 2001 after her postgraduate apprenticeship under Marina Abramovic in Germany, had a cheeky girl-power attitude about it; an irreverent humour. Her own personal female qualities of sagacity, beauty and charm were used unashamedly as part of her arsenal to subvert the subtle social codes, expectations and prescriptions projected upon women in Ireland at that time. Her early work expressed a sassy attitude, passionate, courageous, and unique.

Sassy, cheeky and shameless, Amanda Coogan channels the work of Austrian artist Valie Export who in Aktionshose:Genitalpanik (Action Pants: Genital Panic) 1968 cut the crotch out of her jeans and paraded through a porn movie exhibiting her real life genitalia to mock the celluloid ones in defiance of social rules. Often Amanda Coogan’s work references the history of art and images to reimagine new representations of women, such as I love Beuys and Beuys loves me 2009 and Snails (After Alice Maher) 2010 to cite but two examples. Her work carries a lightness of touch, articulating a pro-active rather than a re-active feminist subject. The accessibility and clarity, refinement and concentration of her work reveal the complexity and sophistication of her creative approach.

I often imagine Amanda growing up in her family, what it was like for her with deaf parents. A little girl needing to be seen and heard… finding her own ways to show herself, to give voice through her body and to embody that voice. She continues to manifest this sense of striving to be heard through the body, to be physically seen. For me her work is about making connection, being seen and heard for the purposes of asserting sometimes astonishing truths about who we are as women and men. Her training in Irish sign language equipped her with the ability to convey a wide range of subtle communications often with just a facial expression. With disarming acuity, there is both power and elegance in her discriminating gestures

Questions of gender constructs are at the core of Amanda Coogan’s concerns. The female voice that strives to be heard, the female body that endeavors to be seen on her own terms is at the vivid centre of her wide ranging practice. Women who are subject to a constant scrutiny are often disparaged for caring about their beauty while it is perceived as completely natural that men are drawn to it. Amanda uses her natural, easy beauty to draw the gaze to her (to magnetise) and reflect it back to expose its reciprocity. She transforms an objectifying practice (presenting herself as an object) into an opportunity for self-expression. Her work references the work of American artist Hannah Wilke (1940 – 1993) who as Amelia Stein writes ‘suggested that her self-love was built of self-knowledge–and thus subversive of the patriarchal construction of the feminine body as only a picture, only display.’ Coogan also reclaims the eroticised female body from the exclusive domain of male desire and like Wilke, uses it as a powerful tool of critique. She also places emphasis on the female body, making it become the universal subject – symbolic of both women’s and humanity’s concern.

In her more recent work, 13 Women 2013 and Spit, Spit, Scrub, Scrub 2011, there is a more intense, mature sense of longing and arrival at a place of personal power and authority. Her fabric mountains are like sci-fi worlds where she pokes through a boundary, a partition alongside the female others with her; to emerge reborn into new arrangements of community and interrelationship. These works are iconic, audacious, elegiac. She is still poking away at boundaries, hegemonies and restrictions to emerge gorgeous, courageous, defiantly unique and urging us all to come and join her. And always her beauty and beauty of the work is unabating.

For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror

which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so,

Rainer Maria Rilke Duino Elegies

Footnote

Amelia Jones quote:

Excerpts from ‘Everybody Dies… Even the Gorgeous:’ Resurrecting the Work of Hannah Wilke by Amelia Jones. Copyright Amelia Jones.

First published in markzine.com, 2003. Reprinted in The Rhetoric of the Pose: Rethinking Hannah Wilke, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2005

 

Artist Bio

Having studied at Limerick School of Art and Design and National College of Art and Design, Coogan completed a PhD at the University of Ulster in 2013. She has performed and exhibited her work extensively including; Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, PS1, New York, Galeria Safia, Barcelona, IMMA, Dublin, RHA, Dublin, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.

Her work is held in many collections including Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, AIB Collection, Dublin, National Portrait Collection, Limerick and Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick.

Coogan’s practice is represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. www.kevinkavangh.ie