In this video we speak with Kira O’Reilly, an artist who is currently based in London, and who uses different kinds of media. For the one-day exhibition The Artist is an Explorer, curated by Marina Abramovic at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen (Basel, Switzerland) she chose to perform a piece called Untitled (Slick Glittery). We have a look at the performance and talk with Kira O’Reilly about her work.
Kira O’Reilly: Untitled (Slick Glittery). Performance at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen (Basel, Switzerland). Interview with Kira O’Reilly, September 20, 2014.
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A ground, crisp and clear, upon which objects carefully arranged sit in silent geometries. Mounds of glitter—emerald green—overflow their bright, shiny metal bowls from which long spoon handles emerge. And eggs, lots of eggs, carefully placed in straight lines like a score, a suggestion of a progression, a procession, a process.
And a body. Female. Naked, almost still, face obscured under a messy mermaid dissolve of glitter stuck to congealed egg, rib cage expanding and contracting.
Untitled (Slick Glittery) has a logic of slow, gradual physical exertions and tensions that poise between control and collapse as the objects are gradually destroyed. Eggs are held in crevices and joints of the body, sequestered and dropped, breaking, dribbling and spilling into messiness. Glitter is sprinkled, almost anointing the eggy puddles—egg glitter, egg glitter, egg glitter, so that the ground begins to transform into traces, trails, marks, gestures of these chaotic materials.
Untitled (Slick Glittery) has a duration over some several hours that allows many moments of change as the materials and body are arranged and rearranged in slow, gradual, muscular movements and as tiredness gradually grips and the muscles struggle and composure and control lessen. Falls and collapses become more frequent and a visual transformation is informed by a continuous precarity.
Untitled (Slick Glittery) has been developed from many threads of practice that include investigating relationships between bodies and architectures through slow and very simple progressive movements, working with biological and domestic materials inside and outside of laboratories as a kind of practice of dislocating and being interested in the most basic ideas of malleability and mutability.
Kira O’Reilly (1967, Ireland) is an artist currently based in London. Her practice is both wilfully interdisciplinary and entirely undisciplined and stems from a visual art background; it employs performance, biotechnical practices, photography and writing as media with which to consider speculative reconfigurations around The Body. Increasingly movement practices are influencing her work, from yogas to martial arts and sports.
Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, China and Mexico. She has presented at conferences and symposia on performance, visual art and science, and art and technology interfaces.