Roski Talks: Martin O'Brien

Tues., Nov. 8, 7pm
Roski Graduate Building
Los Angeles Arts District


Roski Talks are free and open to the public
Reservations requested here.



1262 Palmetto Street, Los Angeles CA 90013



Martin O’Brien is an artist, scholar, teacher, and zombie. He is one of the UK’s best known performance artists and has recently won the Philip Leverhulme Prize 2021 for Visual and Performing Arts. His work has been written about in books and articles, including Survival of the Sickest: The Art of Martin O'Brien (LADA, 2018), and his work has been featured on BBC radio and Sky Arts television. He has performed throughout the UK, Europe, US, and Canada. He is best known for his long durational solo performances and his collaborations with legendary LA artist Sheree Rose. His most recent works have been at the ICA and Tate Britain (both London). He is Senior Lecturer in Live Art at Queen Mary University London. In 2023 he will spend the year as writer-artist in residence at Whitechapel Gallery (London).



Deathly Durations: Illness, Temporality and Queer Death

The coffin is sealed shut; the faint sound of coughing can be heard from inside, ringing out through the night. In another place, a group are meeting. The Last Breath Society gather to breathe together, to mourn their own life and rehearse for the inevitable.

This artist lecture thinks through images of death and dying in performance. O’Brien will ask what can be understood about life and its opposite by looking at works of art by people at the end of their life. The talk will engage particularly with works that resist conventional narratives of illness, by constructing difficult and political images through durational action-based performance. O’Brien will think through his own recent performance-installation at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) ‘The Last breath Society (Coughing Coffin)’, which explored the politics of living longer than expected in order to understand an enactment of durational thinking through death and decay.