Hot on the Heels of Love took place in IMMA on Wednesday, a free event of live music and performance art and a one off nocturnal counterpart to the What We Call Love exhibition.

Curated by prolific writer, art historian and curator Padraic E. Moore, the event brought together an eclectic selection of both Irish and international emerging performance artists – each of whom drew upon concepts of love, sexuality, desire, melancholy and death, in tandem with elements inspired by the surrealist movement.

Hot on the Heels of Love might have seen fewer numbers than what was expected on account of the storm, but what this created was a feeling of intimacy, in which viewers had space to sit on the floor of the palatial surroundings while rain and wind battered the windows outside – furthering the surrealist essence of the happening.

The evening was split into three acts throughout the Royal Hospital building. Act I took place in the chapel where four artists took to the altar for a series of performances in spoken word.

Liverpudlian artist Richard Proffitt began with a reading from his poetry work. Caoimhe Lavelle continued with a selection of her poems, where the rhythm of the hula hoop she danced in and the turning of the pages on her little notepad set the metering of the words she spoke – funny, touching, and highly entertaining.

Actor and illustrator Sophie Merry’s spoken word piece was executed with humor and honesty, perfectly capturing the rise, fall and reconciliation of a youthful relationship while one of her illustrated characters played out the emotions viewers were taken through. Next, American artist Elise Rasmussen gave a compelling feminist speech on the importance of the muse, accompanied by a video collage.

A video piece by Dorje de Burgh in collaboration with Galway musician Maria Somerville detailed a night in Dublin city from a range of perspectives, and concluded the first act.

The crowd moved into the Great Hall for Act II, in which British performance artist William Hunt masterfully controlled two drones (Above) draped with black cloth simultaneously over a pattern of tape, cd’s, nuts, bolts and glow sticks. Two microphones on either side of the stage picked up the sounds of the drones creating a buzzing soundscape throughout the room.

Wounded Healer (Below) opened the live music performances in Act III, playing from her debut EP Panic about Love which was released back in September on This Greedy Pig’s label The Pig’s Ear. School Tour gave the next performance – with Gerard Duffy shrouded in a silver blanket behind his machines while faced by a guitarist and a man holding a strobe. Lastly, Girls Names concluded with a performance from their their third album, Arms Around a Vision, released on Tough Love back in October.

The night was a perfect juxtaposition of music and venue, reminiscent of events such as the likes of Late at Tate Britain. Long may things like this continue to take place in our national museums and listed buildings, where spaces are re-imagined, transformed and utilised for performance and music – where it can be appreciated in a less expected environment, stretching the imaginations of the viewers.

If you haven’t been already, make sure to get down to What We Call Love at IMMA which runs through until February. The exhibition features an impressive selection of works by a roster of the greatest artists of the 20th century, including Calle, Tillmans, Hirst, Man Ray, Abramović, Dalí, Picasso and Warhol, to name but a few.

Entry is €8.00, €5.00 concession and free for those in full time education, and there’s literally hours worth of enjoyment to be had

Words: Eoghan Barry 
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