Performance Art - Cringe or Goosebumps?

I have been to many live Art performances. Some held in large warehouse spaces in the likes of downtown San Francisco, others in curated Galleries in Fine Art establishments.

It is always with a slight hmmm mmm that I enter this type of exhibition.

Coming from a theatrical background I know the joy and beauty live performance can bring but sometimes I just find the whole thing too 'out there' for my brain to take in. I love to be challenged by Art and am completely open to what space and certain stimuli can bring, but some Contemporary work makes me want to curl up and cringe, like watching the Rose Of Tralee.

I remember attending an exhibition many moons ago. My new date & I (date = now my husband) rocked up to the event open & eager to show each other how cool (open for debate) we were.

We entered a room with light bulbs on the floor and an old TV playing loud music. An elf-like human swirled around the room boasting a stern rigid face. 

Eh, and this is meant to make me feel...confused is it?

  • It didn't help that there was no text anywhere to give guidance on the thoughts behind the project.
  • It also didn't help that my date was not into this type of Art and mentioned that the janitor forgot to tidy up last night.

Joking aside I didn't quite 'get' it and ran out looking desperately to save my date, by heading to the nearest pub! Aghhhh that feels better!


So when a fellow Biscuit flagged a performance she was working in last month, I was happy to attend to show my support but the shawl of apprehension appeared and nestled neatly around my shoulders.

Thoughts of...

  • Am I not cool enough to 'get' this live alternative performance thing?
  • Will I watch with gritted teeth waiting for enlightenment, just biding my time for the exit strategy to kick in?


On the day of my visit.

I entered the RHA in Dublin.

Pre-show I met a dear friend Jillian in the cafe there and we talked about life, Art, career and meditation. We drank coffee said bye-bye and I entered the exhibition alone. The way I like it.

I met a gush of red on the stairs.

It was Inma. 

A super talented and dedicated dancer who worked with me in my first restaurant business 20 years ago. She was focused and glided with ease up and down the stairway. Our eyes did not meet, but I felt she knew I was there.


I wandered into a large blackened room and then folks, for the first time ever, my jaw dropped. I couldn't open my eyes wide enough to consume what was in front of me.

The lady, whom I never had the pleasure of hearing about before, Amanda Coogan had created this skin tingling exhibition of movement, form and human exploration. I didn't quite understand the story behind it yet but dang it really didn't matter to me. So this is what everyone bangs on about! My arms were popping.

I felt drawn to every crevasse of this space. Human form all around me, focused and committed to their particular repetitive function. Like almost a clock ticking.

It was super goosebump worthy.

Thank you, Amanda Coogan and Inma Pavon for exposing me to a beautifully choreographed and produced piece of work. For giving me the confidence in my gut feeling, of when to know the exhibitions that work for me. 

I am now eager and excited about exposing my brain to more of this but will await Ms.Coogans next move. 

If you get a chance to experience what this lady offers I urge you to do so.

A point to be made; Do not try to force yourself to 'get' Art when you internally role your eyes and wish you were at home on Facebook. Be honest with yourself, no one else gives a shit.

This way you will find the Art that makes your skin jump and what to avoid.

So Amanda Coogan for me;

Cringe ? Nope

Goosebumps? Most definitely yes.


Keep Creative

Tara x