Night of Performance & Epic Ritual
Performance | 8pm - 12pm, 23 April, 2016
Elaborate hand-made costumes, godheads and allegory: the stage is set for a collision between epic drama and bawdy ritual.
Aoibheann Greenan‘s theatrical and interactive installation 'The Perfect Wagner Rite' takes George Bernard Shaw‘s philosophical and political commentary on Wagner’s tetralogy ‘The Ring of the Nibelungs’ as its starting point. In a deliberate act of cultural voyeurism inspired by Shaw’s interpretation of Wagner, Greenan invents a pseudo-subculture of contemporary worshippers whose philosophies and practices draw heavily on the Ring as a source of legitimation. 'The Perfect Wagner Rite' is an elaborate and delirious theatrical environment, part fetishist spectacle, part esoteric ritual ground. Presented in its entirety at Import Projects, an abridged version of the performative work was staged at KW, Berlin during the ONE NIGHT STAND #8 on April 14th organised by the Network of Berlin Independent Project Spaces and Initiatives.
Within the gallery space at Import, Greenan has installed a replica of George Bernard Shaw’s rotating writing hut, which can be set in motion by performers and thus functions as a peepshow of sorts. Overseen by a giant god-head figure, performers will utilise Greenan’s extravagant costumes and props to enact an epic drama in which sexual desire mirrors cupidity and consumerist culture, sexual perversions mirror systems of law and domination. Entering into the ring the audience/voyeur becomes indirectly initiated into Greenan‘s mock-ceremony. Through the prism of Shaw’s commentary, Greenan’s work playfully questions what rituals and folklore can create political and cultural agency today.
For previous exhibitions of her work Greenan orchestrated immersive and bizarre worlds from finely crafted objects and live performances. With ‘The Perfect Wagner Rite’ Greenan is working on a greater scale and has created a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ of epic proportions with musical score, talking heads, a rotating hut, and elaborate costumes and props made of myriad materials and textures, richly decorated and painstakingly produced.
The Perfect Wagner Rite is an Import Projects commission in collaboration with curator Alice Planel and Anja Henckel, and was conceived as a site-specific and performative installation; the frenzied exuberance of Greenan’s imagined world parodies the constant reinvention normalised by a micro-society of globe-trotting, urban and creative workers who call Berlin home.
Aoibheann Greenan is a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersection of visual art and experimental theatre. Her work critically examines the process by which culture and identity are evaluated in our digital and globalized era. Greenan’s work has been selected for solo exhibitions in institutions such as the Wexford Arts Centre (forthcoming); Import Projects, Berlin (forthcoming); Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; The RHA, Dublin; Project Arts Centre, Dublin and Roscommon Arts Centre Her work was selected for After the Future; EVA International, Limerick (curated by Annie Fletcher). Most recently she has been invited to exhibit her work at Cycle Music and Art Festival in Iceland. Greenan has been awarded residencies at SIM, Reykjavik; SOMA, Mexico City and Chateau de Servieres, Marseilles. She has received bursaries from Culture Ireland, Arts Council Ireland and Fingal Arts Council.
Guest Curator Bio:
Alice Planel is a freelance curator, lecturer and activist working between Ireland and Berlin. She is particularly interested in performance, in bridging dance, theatre and the visual arts, and in collaborative approaches to curation. As an activist, her interests lie in the concept of food justice and the value of labour. She has curated and collaborated on programs in rural Ireland, London and Berlin. In an academic capacity she has contributed to artist monographs, journals and conferences in Algeria, Morocco, France, Ireland and the UK.
An Import Projects commission supported by Culture Ireland and the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin.