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Kira O’Reilly

Untitled (Bodies)

The works of interdisciplinary artist Kira O’Reilly use the uncertain boundaries of bodies as the starting point for their enquiry. Specifically, O’Reilly asks what kind of societies become possible in collaborations across species, organisms, and bodies, and she explores these questions through sustained and experimental engagements with politics, biopolitics, change (social, corporeal, chemical, reactive), and the complex relations between the human and the non-human.
This book is the first to offer an in-depth engagement with her many works across diverse formats. Bringing together writings by major artists and thinkers, such as Marina Abramović, Shannon Bell, and Tracey Warr, alongside extensive documentation of the artist’s work from two decades of practice, the contributions engage with such topics as ideas of performance, feminist political aesthetics, biotechnical practices, image-making, and the intersections of humans and animals. The book also includes interviews, archive material, and O’Reilly’s own writings.

320 pages | 150 color plates | 9 1/2 x 8 1/2

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"Kira O’Reilly: Untitled (Bodies) is a sumptuous and wide-ranging examination of the work of an internationally significant interdisciplinary artist. Even before it is opened, the book makes a claim for the startling collisions of image, body, and encounter at the heart of the work. The cover image shows the stretched geometry of O’Reilly’s body in the midst of her Stair Falling, as performed at the City of Women Festival in Ljubljana in 2010--a work in which the artist enacted a slow-motion tumble down a flight of red-carpeted stairs. This image is overlaid with a grid of raised, embossed marks, recalling the scars left on the artist from such performances as Succour (2001) and Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter Kuopio (2003), both of which involved small cuts on her skin. The cover invites the reader to touch it, to consider both the formal and tactile vocabularies that O’Reilly has developed over her remarkable career to date."

Johanna Linsley | Contemporary Theatre Review

"[A] major body of writing. . . . Traversing the breadth of one artist’s sustained and profound explorations of body politics and aesthetics, this important, beautifully designed study will be of interest to those who have already experienced O’Reilly’s work (whether viscerally or vicariously, through text), as well as those encountering it for the first time. Simultaneously archival and celebratory, Untitled (Bodies) is a vital and compelling read.

Leila Riszko | New Theatre Quarterly

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