Supported by the Arts Council and Wicklow County Council


During Amsterdam Art Week 2024, as an offshoot to her major solo exhibition at The Douglas Hyde Gallery of Contemporary Art, Dublin, and in collaboration with our big sister Kunstverein in Amsterdam, we are thrilled to present a four day screening of The Quickening by Deirdre O’Mahony in the Netherlands.

Screenings of the film will start daily, on the hour during Kunstverein’s regular opening times. On Friday 31 May the last screening of the day will be followed by a conversation between the artist Deirdre O’Mahony, curator Kate Strain, and Yana Foqué. This moment will be celebrated with a serving of a potato kombucha in special ceramic vessels made by O’Mahony and a potato-tulip ice cream by artists Honey Jones Hughes & Antonio De la herre. More about this event here.

Both the tulip and the potato have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. Some provide sustenance for the body, some for the soul. Moreover, what binds them together is the role each played in the shaping of the countries and the cultures our Kunstverein franchise holds a foot in. Respectively, The Netherlands and Ireland. Amidst the ongoing ‘boerenprotesten’—a series of demonstrations by Dutch farmers triggered by a 2019 parliament proposal to halve the country’s livestock in an attempt to limit agricultural pollution in the Netherlands—and a growing divide between the people providing our food and those consuming it, we again look how the food we share shapes our thoughts. By bringing together different voices in the field this event aims to offer a Dutch version of O’Mahony’s Sustainment Experiments – which lay at the foundation of her film now shown at Kunstverein – in an attempt (however small) to bridge the gap.

The Quickening is a sound and moving image work, commissioned by The Douglas Hyde Gallery of Contemporary Art, Dublin. The work has emerged from a series of gatherings to talk about the issues faced in food production and farming today. O’Mahony’s Sustainment Experiments feasts held in Kilkenny and Dublin generated open and frank discussions between farmers, scientists and politicians which, transcribed, have become a libretto for this impactful new work. Developed by O’Mahony and writer Joanna Walsh, the libretto is voiced by singers and musicians, Branwen Kavanagh, Michelle Doyle, Siobhán Kavanagh, Ultan O’ Brien and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, each with a distinctive pitch, style and pace. This aural feast is accompanied by moving imagery captured across rural Ireland, showing varied viewpoints of the land and its many inhabitants affected by the unseasonal droughts, floods, and erosion, brought on by accelerating climate change. As O’Mahony states, “The Quickening represents a polyvocal response to the most urgent questions affecting land and its inhabitants, giving voice to the invisible protagonists that shape our earth’s future and an idea of being-in-common that encompasses all earthly inhabitants.”

Deirdre O’Mahony has an impressive 30-year track record in making work across sculpture, painting, installation and participatory projects. At the centre of this work is her interest in the politics of landscape, rural/urban relationships, rural sustainability and food security. She has investigated the political ecology of rural places through public engagement, exhibitions, critical writing, and cultural production. From setting up community spaces amongst a charged local conflict to her large-scale paintings produced by tracing the shadows of boulders on Mullaghmore Mountain in the Burren National Park, she deftly considers the role of art in bringing together diverse communities, forming alternate forms of knowledge, and embraces art as a critical space to help us see things differently.

Kunstverein Aughrim’s ongoing collaboration with Deirdre O’Mahony is made possible with the support of The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. The presentation of The Quickening as part of Amsterdam Art Week is kindly supported by Culture Ireland.