On the 18th of May the performance Mountain by Orla Barry will be performed at the South London Gallery in London.
Mountain, the new work of Irish artist Orla Barry, takes as its starting point the premise that every sentence that we utter is an improvisation. In this performance, that is never the same on any night, Barry has worked with 57 words, an actor, a dancer and a musician to devise a work in which chance, fate, and a little witchcraft play equal roles. Barry, now shepherdess as well as artist, uses her new knowledge of primal materials and customs. She connects this to her longstanding interest in language, playing with different forms of text production such as speech, monologue, interview, poem or song to create a series of intentionally unplanned crossovers between text, meaning and performance.
Mountain premiered at STUK kunstencentrum last November and was presented by If I Can’t Dance in Het Veem Theater in Amsterdam on 25 and 26 January. It was performed at Bozar in Brussels in the frame of the Performatik Festival on 27 February where it was part of the exhibition Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio at Bozar in the form of an installation.
Orla Barry’s work focuses on language, both written and spoken, as well as on visual deconstruction and displacement of language. Via associative techniques, she researches the semantics of her mother tongue and its cultural imbedding and implications. Orla Barry lived in Belgium for sixteen years and has now returned to live and work in Wexford, Ireland. She has recently presented performances at Tate Modern, London; Playground Festival, STUK, Leuven; and De Appel arts centre in Amsterdam. She has also had solo shows of her work at the CCB, Museu Bernardo, Lisbon (2011, with Rui Chafes); Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (2006); SMAK, Ghent (2005); Camden Arts Centre, London (2005); and W139, Amsterdam (2005). She has taken part in Manifesta 2 and in group shows such as Sense and Sensibility in Sao Paulo and Some Parts of this World in Helsinki. She has been awarded the prize of the Palais de Beaux Arts in the ‘Prix de la Jeune Peinture Belge’ in 2003 and was shortlisted for the Glen Dimplex Prize in 1999.
Mountain is a co-production of Playground (STUK & M), Leuven, If I Can’t Dance, and Het Veem Theater, Amsterdam and is commissioned by Corpus and co-funded by Culture Ireland, the European Union and the Mondriaan Fund. Thanks to the Gemeente Amsterdam and the AFK.