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Kunstverein x Amsterdam Art Weekend
Deirdre O’Mahony, The Quickening
May 29—June 2, 2024
Special event: May 31, 8pm

During Amsterdam Art Weekend, as an offshoot of her major solo exhibition at The Douglas Hyde Gallery of Contemporary Art in Dublin, and in collaboration with our baby sister Kunstverein Aughrim, Kunstverein is proud to host twenty special screenings of The Quickening by Deirdre O’Mahony.

Deirdre O’Mahony’s 30+ years practice is rooted in the belief that art, as an alternate form of knowledge and a critical space to help us see things differently, is a powerful tool to bring together diverse communities. In the past, she has put it to use to investigate the political ecology of rural places through public engagement, exhibitions, critical writing, and cultural production. The Quickening too is a vehicle to discuss the contemporary issues facing farming, food production and consumption set on by one of the most urgent realities facing our time: the irreversible rise of the oceans. The film is the outcome of O’Mahony’s Sustainment Experiments—orchestrated gatherings disguised as modern lent feasts, bringing together actors that normally only sit figuratively opposite from each other at the other ends of a polarized conversation: farmers, scientists and politicians. These gatherings allowed for physical, non-hierarchical, in person, meetings where open and frank discussions about the reality of farming life and the centrality of soil to our lives could be had. As they ate and drank, the guests deliberated over sowing and harvesting techniques, discussed extreme weather, volatile demands of the market, food regulation, and the anxious, increasingly divided discourses around food. Their transcribed conversations became the building blocks for The Quickening, a new libretto that pairs human perspectives with other, non-human voices equally insistent on being heard, though they speak in a softer tongue; animals breathing in and out, the buzz of insects, the movement of soil creatures beneath our feet. And so, this polyphonic work reflects the land and its many inhabitants affected by the unseasonal droughts, floods, and erosions brought on by accelerating climate change.

Screenings of the film will start daily, on the hour during Kunstverein’s regular opening times.

Thanks

The Quickening is developed by O’Mahony and writer Joanna Walsh, and is voiced and accompanied by singers and musicians, Branwen Kavanagh, Michelle Doyle, Siobhán Kavanagh, Ultan O’ Brien and Eoghan Ó’Ceannabhan. The Quickening was commissioned by The Douglas Hyde Gallery of Contemporary Art, Dublin, and supported by The Douglas Hyde and The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. This offshoot-presentation of The Quickening is made in collaboration with Kunstverein Aughrim and supported by Culture Ireland and Mondriaan Fonds. For their support to Buurtijs’ new flavour we would also like to thank milk farmer Bas van den Berg and John and Johanna Huiberts, of Huiberts biologische bloembollen.

Kunstverein also wishes to thank its members and AFk for their continued support of our program.