In the background of this wonderful conversation with performance artist Amanda Coogan, you can hear the joyful chat of two very happy children. To buy some time to have our interview, I suggested that my daughter, who is the same age as Amanda’s son, might come along with me to their house in Belfast. They’d never met but bonded instantly over a shared love of Harry Potter and Minecraft. So a huge thank you to Dan who was so welcoming of my Grace and to them both for giving Amanda and I time to have a really fantastic conversation about her work.
Amanda Coogan is one the most exciting contemporary Visual Artists practising 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. Her exhibition in Dublin’s Royal Hibernian Academy was described by Artforum as ‘performance art at its best’.
She was awarded the Allied Irish Bank’s Art Prize in 2004. She has performed and exhibited her work extensively including The Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, PS1, New York, Galeria, Barcelona, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. She completed her doctoral thesis on live durational performance art in 2013 at the University of Ulster.
More detailed information on her work can be found on her website: www.amandacoogan.com . Amanda was incredibly generous with her time and open about her process as an artist. We went deep into issues of motherhood and art and the fight to get back to work while our two children played happily in the background!
Her latest work Run to the Rock is a multi-media work created by Amanda in collaboration with the Deaf communities of Northern Ireland and South Africa. It is a meditation on Shakespeare inspired by the Robben Island Bible, a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare which was smuggled among and annotated by the single cell prisoners of the South African prison during the time of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration. It will run at the MAC in Belfast from the 20th to the 22nd of October and you can book your tickets here.