Performance art in the virtual is a new project by artist Helen Kirwan and consists of five one-off performance art pieces broadcasted live to a global audience every two weeks between early February and mid-May at 4pm BST so that audiences from around the world are able to join in and experience Kirwan’s performances in her studio and on location.
This innovative approach to the experience of performance art is especially poignant during the global pandemic and the new reality which we humans find ourselves in.
Kirwan is an Irish-British conceptual artist born in Dublin, Ireland in 1949 and is known for her quiet, meditative performances and moving image and installations on the themes of memory, loss and on journeying as a metaphor for loss. Her most recent works exploring these themes include her trilogy of video work collectively known as Memory Theatre which were each unveiled at the European Cultural Centre during last three editions of the Venice Biennale.
Kirwan’s performances of futile activities are part of her ongoing inquiry into mourning and loss and are a form of marking time. Her work draws on her own experience of mourning the loss of a loved one. ‘These futile activities are the performance of the searching and yearning which some psychologists identify as essential to the bereavement process,’ she explains.
Kirwan’s work is underpinned by her inquiry into the concept of the ‘philosophical fragment’. The German Romantic philosopher Fredrich Schlegel posited a radical definition of this fragment as a dynamic process which aims at fragmentation for its own sake. Intrinsic to Kirwan’s futile reiterations and journeys is the essential incompletion which is itself the mode of fulfilment. The repetition which lies at the heart of Kirwan’s work draws on the Hegelian concept of memory as a dynamic process of repetition that constantly reinvents itself. Her seemingly endless, repetitive tasks serve as a medium for the metaphorical construction of memory.
For the complete portfolio and more details about the artist and her practice visit artist’s website.
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