Amanda Coogan: Floats in the Aether

Performance artist Amanda Coogan walking through the National Gallery of Ireland as part of her performance Floats in the Aether.
Amanda Coogan, 'Floats in the Aether', 2018.

November 2018 – January 2019

On the centenary of the parliamentary vote for women in Ireland, and the election of Constance Markievicz as the first woman to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Amanda Coogan was invited to create a new artwork at the National Gallery of Ireland.

Coogan is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, working in performance, live art, sculpture and installation. Responding to issues relating to gender equality and human rights, Coogan has continually challenged social and political structures through the medium of her own body and collaborative acts.

Floats in the Aether was an ambitious, large-scale performance comprising a series of events involving over 100 women and girls of different backgrounds and social contexts. In each event, Coogan led a silent, slow-moving, choreographed procession through the historic rooms of the National Gallery. Each participant wore a simple cream jacket with gold, purple, orange and green painted details to reflect the colours of the Irish suffrage movement. Coogan believes ‘this performance puts groups of women together in the spirit of community, togetherness, witness and expectation to remember and celebrate the work of the Irish suffragettes and Markievicz’s historic breach of the glass ceiling.’

This project was presented in collaboration with the exhibition Markievicz: Portraits and Propaganda.

Watch a video about Floats in the Aether

About the performances

Performances were scheduled to take place around three key dates: 6 November 2018 (exhibition opening); 14 December 2018 (centenary of the 1918 election); and 21 January 2019 (centenary of the formation of the First Dáil).

Each performance lasted approximately 40 minutes, except for the first solo performance on 6 November, which lasted 2 hours.

  • 6 November 2018: Amanda Coogan solo performance 
  • 8 November 2018: Amanda Coogan with Dublin Theatre of the Deaf
  • 10 November 2018: Amanda Coogan with students of Loreto High School Beaufort
  • 13 December 2018: Amanda Coogan with National Gallery of Ireland Choir
  • 13 December 2018: Amanda Coogan with Fine Art Sculpture students of NCAD
  • 14 December 2018: Amanda Coogan with current TDs and Senators
  • 15 December 2018: Amanda Coogan with practicing artists
  • 17 January 2019: Amanda Coogan with business leaders
  • 20 January 2019: Amanda Coogan with Women’s History Association of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland Lifelong Learners
  • 21 January 2019: Amanda Coogan with Sew Last Season

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