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Amanda Coogan – The Ladder is Always There – Gallery 1

June 16 @ 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 1:00 pm on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until July 5, 2019

The Ladder is Always There – Visual Arts Exhibition

Runs to July 5th

Open Wed – Sun, 1-6pm

On Sunday 23 June and Sunday 30 June, artist Amanda Coogan will present an engagement with between local artists and the work from 1-3pm. 

Curated by Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan.

In The Ladder Is Always There, internationally renowned Irish performance artist, Amanda Coogan, created an immersive site specific installation, alongside a series of live performances.

Continuing her explorations of embodiment and liveness, Coogan’s installation hung over the gallery of CIACLA. Audience  members walked into and stood underneath its groaning presence. First commissioned by MOCA Jacksonville in response to a hand painted dress by Mark Chagall for Stravinsky’s Firebird suite. Made of fabric the colour of the artist’s skin, the sculpture hung entangled in peaks and troughs calling to mind a landscape, a seascape or an extension of the body. A ladder, suspended from the ceiling at an unattainable height, is always there; a metonym for the potential of movement and change. Through a series of live performances the installation shapeshifted. Performers moved the membrane of the sculpture, lowering and raising its peaks; shifting perspectives.

As with much of Coogan’s work the installation was visually stunning and carried with it poetic resonances. The activities of the silent bodies of the performers rearranging the installation suggested multi resonant layers of meaning. Their gestures, based on Irish Sign Language alongside the pulsating soundtrack – relating to the Adrienne Rich poem, Diving into the Wreck, pour further rich sources to the work.  The Ladder is Always There speaks to a metaphorical journey in which Coogan and by extension, the other performers, dive into or work to overcome an obstacle.

The first iteration of The Ladder is Always was commissioned by and exhibited at the Museum Of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in 2018/2019. We show it here at CIACLA with special thanks to Caitlin Doherty.

The installation features new Music by Emer Kinsella.

About the Artist: Amanda Coogan

Amanda is an internationally recognised and critically acclaimed artist working across the medias of live art, performance, sculpture and installation. The Irish Times have said, ‘Coogan, whose work usually entails ritual, endurance and cultural iconography, is the leading practitioner of performance in the country’. Her extraordinary work is challenging, provocative and always visually stimulating. Using gesture and context she makes allegorical and poetic works that are multi-faceted, and challenge expected contexts. She is one of the most dynamic contemporary artists practising in live art.

The body, as a site of resistance, is the centrality of Coogan’s work. She encompass a multitude of media; Objects, Text, moving and still image, all circulating around her live performances. Her expertise lies in her ability to condense an idea to its very essence and communicate it through her body. Time is a key material in Coogan’s practice, building controlled instability into the fabric of her work. The long durational aspect of her live presentations invites elements of chaos with the unknown and unpredicted erupting dynamically through her live artworks.

Coogan was awarded the Allied Irish Bank’s Art Prize and has extensively presented and performed her work, including at The Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, PS1; New York, The Whitworth Gallery; Manchester, The Museum of Fine Arts; Boston, Van Gogh Museum; Amsterdam and the Manchester International Festival; The MAC, Belfast; The Niemeyer, Aviles. From 2010-2013 Coogan worked with theatre director Robert Wilson on his production The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic where two of her works are quoted; Yellow and Medea. In 2016 the British Council commissioned her to produce Run to the Rock, a mediation on Shakespeare’s text from the Robbin Island bible for their Shakespeare Lives programme. She has just closed a major live exhibition; I’ll sing you a song from around the town, which Artforum described as ‘performance art at its best’.



Kindly Supported by Culture Ireland and the Government of Ireland: Emigrant Support Programme.


June 16
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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