Close Up

22 June 2019: Kelly Gallagher, I am the mace


We're thrilled welcome US artist Kelly Gallagher to present her first European solo screening, comprising ten years of her moving image work across animation, live action and avant-garde collage. Kelly will be present to perform her ARMed Manifesto and will be in conversation with programme curators Greg de Cuir Jr and Miriam de Rosa following the screenings.⠀

These two programmes offer an overview of a brilliant young artist who has demonstrated a mastery of technique, matched with a strong historical and political consciousness. Hers is a radical critique of the canon and the conservative patriarchy that structures and sustains it. Her stance is feminist, anti-imperialist and anti-racist. This is apparent in the interplay between the personal and the political that threads her work. The shining humanism that radiates from Gallagher's moving images touches equally family, friends and those important public figures who have given her spiritual guidance, like John Brown, Assata Shakur, Lucy Parsons, Fred Hampton and everyone else who takes pride in being an accomplice, not simply an ally in the struggle.

The aesthetic of Gallagher’s work is characterised by cut-outs and collaging, as well as stop motion, hand-drawn and other forms of animation that overlay the reality she depicts. Inheriting a pop aesthetic, but with a radical edge, vibrant colour is extremely important in her work as visual texture and also ideological commentary. This ‘radical pop’ evokes her optimism and the radiant glow of her cinematic gesture a "glitter bomb" literally exploding with powerful shock waves and destructive beauty. 

This screening programme opens as a literal bomb thrown to the audience in the form of her ARMed Manifesto, that diagrammes everything Gallagher is fighting for and against, and which she will perform directly in the cinema space. The various works projected exude close personal relationships, for example the recent My Gossip, which revolves around women's unique friendships and networks of support. Do you want to go for a ride? flips the perspective and explores sexual agency in the age of consent (or lack thereof). To this early point in her career it seems that From ally to accomplice is Gallagher’s masterpiece. This work is a tactical pamphlet, an action plan for attacking exploitation and fully embracing the fight for a more just and equitable world. No less it at stake when watching this new cinema of urgency and this new career blazing forward on an upward trajectory.

Programme 1

ARMed Manifesto, Kelly Gallagher - performance reading
I am the Mace, Kelly Gallagher, 2013, 4 min
Slower, Kelly Gallagher, 2019, 7 min
My Gossip, Kelly Gallagher, 2018, 15 min
Ceallaigh at Kilmainham, Kelly Gallagher, 2013, 7 min
More Dangerous than a Thousand Rioters, Kelly Gallagher, 2016, 6 min
From Ally to Accomplice, Kelly Gallagher, 2015, 18 min

Total runtime: ca 57 min

Programme 2

Pennsylvania, Kelly Gallagher, 2012, 2 min
How to Bake a Pie, Kelly Gallagher, 2019, 4’18 min
The Herstory of the Female Filmmaker, Kelly Gallagher, 2009, 15 min
Pearl Pistols, Kelly Gallagher, 2014, 3 min
Photographs from my Father, Kelly Gallagher, 2014, 14 min
Do You Want To Go For a Drive?, Kelly Gallagher, 2016, 5 min
Pen Up the Pigs, Kelly Gallagher, 2014, 12 min

Total runtime: ca 55 min

I am the mace is curated by Greg de Cuir Jr and Miriam de Rosa. All works are projected from digital files courtesy of the artist.

Greg de Cuir Jr is an independent curator and writer who lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia.

Miriam De Rosa is a Birmingham-based researcher and independent curator, lecturing in film and screen media at Coventry University.