Kira O’Reilly


From the INTERSPECIES show in London we bring you Kira O’Reilly, a provocative performance artist based in the UK. Briefly:

Kira graduated from Cardiff School of Art in 1998 and has participated in a number of performance art festivals throughout the UK and Europe, including at the Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University 1998, the National Review of Live Art, in Glasgow (1998, 2001, 2003), at Arnolfini in Bristol, at Home in London and at several European festivals including Break 21 Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2002 and the ANTI Contemporary Art Festival 2003, Kuopio, Finland. She has also performed in China at the Dadao performance art festival, Beijing, organised by Shu Yang 2006.

In 2003 and 2004, she undertook a residency with SymbioticA, a bio-art project based in the department of Human Anatomy, University of Western Australia. She has received several major commissions and in 2001 was invited to produce work for Span2 international performance art residency in London. Her work often involves the cutting of her skin, and recent pieces have also involved animals, including leeches and pigs. She was the focus of a major controversy in the British press, angering British animal rights activists by performing a durational piece with a dead pig, at the Newlyn Art Gallery in Penzance, southwest England.

For the INTERSPECIES project however the pig, Deliah, will remain alive. Both Kira and Deliah will cohabit a living space, partially viewable by the public for 72 hours.

At some point the pig and artist will fall asleep. The work addresses the ethics of human and animal interaction, acknowledging the implicit ambivalences and violence in the appropriation of animals as a resource.  Kira and Deliah carried out the performance at Interspecies in Manchester earlier in the year and now undertake the work for a longer period.

While we may not be all that comfortable sharing living spaces with livestock we’re excited to know some one who is. Kira’s work interests us less for its artistic merrit (which may be very high; we’re just not in the position to judge) and more for its problematic cross-species platform. Does this quaify as Shock art? Probably, and we’re hoping that its gets the right people thinking about exactly why two napping animals is so disturbing.

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