Over the past two years Amanda Coogan has been working on a series of ‘Yellow’ performances; Yellow, The Yellow Mountain, The Fall, Cutpiece, Yellow-expanded, Eating Yellow, and finally, as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, Coogan will present the exploratory Yellow-Reperformed in collaboration with five other performers.
At the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery for the first time we can see artworks from the series together. This exhibition of photographs and video is made to accompany Coogan’s final work of the series; Yellow-Reperformed. These yellow works have been shown and performed as widely as, The Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin; Artists Space, New York; Trace Gallery, Cardiff; The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; The Whitworth Gallery of Art, Manchester; The West Cork Art Centre, Skibereen; VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow; The Dingle Film Festival, Siamsa Tire, Tralee; The Plymouth Art Centre, Plymouth; Tulca 09, Galway; Point d’Impact festival, Geneva.
Coogan’s recent intense focus on the colour yellow began with her 2008 solo live durational performance, Yellow. An exploration of a repeated action over a long period of time. From Coogan’s studio Yellow alludes to many things, the Magdalene laundries, bathing infants, female sexuality, contemporary performance practice, endurance and trance. It is a physically challenging performance. Over the duration it throws the performer into an endurance related vertigo. Through this physical challenge the audience collude with the performer. The performance reflects back at the audience, offering a plethora of personal references that complete the reading of the piece.
The Yellow Mountain celebrates youth and vitality. In this irreverent Art Video the performers proclaim youth’s reign eternal. Up ending Beckett’s Happy Days, the performers are embedded in an out-sized and garishly painted aran jumper. With heads protruding they lip-synch to the Alleluia chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
The Fall was a longitudinal durational performance. Over 17 days in Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery of Art Coogan jumped of the staircase installing a yellow mound to break her fall. The piece began with reference to Yves Klein’s Leap into the void and developed into an attempt at flying.
For Cutpiece Coogan ‘wore’ twenty meters of painted canvas and methodically ripped her way out of it. The title refers to Yoko Ono’s iconic performance but in Coogan’s case it is the artist herself who activates the ripping.
All of these pieces are from live, durational performance. Coogan works in collaboration with photographers Colm Hogan (Cutpiece), Marco Anelli (The Fall, Manchester) Davey Moor ( The Fall, KKG & Flying) and John Roch Simon (Yellow, 2008) and from their documentation of the live performances Coogan chooses a key image that she produces as Artwork.