March 15, 2017 - Argos Centre for Art & Media - Orla Barry: Breaking Rainbows
March 15, 2017

Argos Centre for Art & Media

Orla Barry, Breaking Rainbows (still), 2016–17. Video.

Orla Barry
Breaking Rainbows
March 29–April 30, 2017

Performance: March 25–26, at Performatik 17: The Brussels Biennial of Performance Art, 7pm
Opening: March 29, 6pm

Argos Centre for Art & Media
Rue du Chantier 13
1000 Brussels
Belgium

www.argosarts.org
kaaitheater.be
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Exploring the boundaries of art and life, Breaking Rainbows uses the relationship between wo/man and animal, and the cannibalistic, symbiotic tension between (Orla Barry) the artist and (Orla Barry) the shepherd to reflect on the primal and poetic and unpredictable bond we have in the natural world. Presented as both live performance and video installation, Barry's new work is a fascinating journey into the land of shepherding through the lens of "doing" rather than "observing" the job at hand. 

Endearing, humorous and challenging, Breaking Rainbows reflects on both our interdependence and disconnection from the natural environment. Made up of a series of vignettes, Barry's work brings us into a journey through time, conceptualisations and effects: from the realms of sheep farming traditions, ancient Greek shepherd's singing competitions, contemporary consumerism and gender roles, to the intimate relationship of caring for a sheep about to give birth. 

Interweaving live performance, video, and a 300 kg pile of wool produced on Barry's farm in 2015, with an aural landscape touching different forms of speech, Breaking Rainbows is congruous with Orla Barry's multidisciplinary aesthetic. However, as in her most recent work, Mountain, it also marks a new step in her trajectory by introducing chance procedures and a collaborative approach to the development of the texts. This results in the stories being reinvented and reshaped, defying notions of ownership, authorship and authenticity, and thus also reflecting on the nature of oral storytelling as transferred throughout generations. This is played out in an unpredictable order in which no performance or experience of the installation is the same. 

Orla Barry (1969) is both a visual artist and shepherd. She lived for 16 years in Brussels and now lives and works in South East Ireland where she runs a flock of pedigree Lleyn sheep. In her work she deals with the physicality and poetics of oral language. A recent leitmotif is the tension between being an artist and a farmer in rural Ireland.

She has had performances at The Project Arts Centre, Dublin; The South London Gallery and Tate Modern, London; If I Can't Dance, De Appel Amsterdam; and The Playground Festival, Leuven.

She has also had solo shows at Mother's Tankstation, Dublin; CCB, Museu Berardo, Lisbon (with Rui Chafes); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; SMAK, Ghent, Belgium; Camden Arts Centre, London; and Bozar, Brussels. 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.

Breaking Rainbows will also tour to Crawford Art Gallery & Cork Midsummer Festival, Cork: Performance June 22–23 at 6pm, exhibition: June 24–August 26, Wexford Arts Centre & Wexford Festival Opera, Wexford: Performance October 20–21 at 8pm, exhibition October 23–November 18.

Written and directed by Orla Barry; Collaborators Einat Tuchman, Derrick Devine, Marcus Lamb; Performers Einat Tuchman, Dick Walsh; Commissioned and produced by Wexford Arts Centre, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios; Co-production Kaaitheater, ARGOS centre for art and media, Crawford Art Gallery; Funded by Arts Council of Ireland and by Culture Ireland; Support Dublin Theatre Festival, Midsummer Festival Cork, Opera Festival Wexford & IMMA’s residency program

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