Emma Martin - KING | SHRINE - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

Emma Martin - KING | SHRINE

04 Feb - 14 May 2023 | Tuesday - Sunday

VISUAL is pleased to present KING | SHRINE, a new performance and installation by choreographer and artist Emma Martin, in collaboration with Katie Davenport, Stephen Dodd, Mick Donohoe and Mufutau Yusuf (Junior).

KING | SHRINE is part of a larger project by Martin entitled Dark Days Need Ceremony, a work about ‘endings and new beginnings’. This marks the first of a pair of works under this title.

The dual title reflects the two aspects of this work. KING is a dance performance created for a dancer and a sound artist, ceremonial in its presentation that seeks to celebrate the simple, communal act of gathering and dancing, whilst leaning on the narrative arc of ascension, reign and death as a frame to consider humanity’s era of domination. The performance serves as a humble bow to our powerlessness in the face of nature’s will, and the thought ‘we might as well dance’.

SHRINE acts as a grotto-like space or memento-mori for the viewer, comprising a room size installation of sculpture, light and sound. Using materials and symbols associated with the opulence of churches, grottos and palaces – gold, candles, light and mementos, the viewer is also confronted with the familiar, banal detritus we leave behind or discard- the aftermath of our lives.

The looped audio work that is at the heart of SHRINE takes the audience on a journey through the apocalypse, the abyss and a new beginning. The sound proposes an absurd, theatricalised vision of the End and what a new beginning might look like.

Martin writes; ‘It’s healthy to imagine the END. We’re all going to die. Here is a space to contemplate that.’ Endings of many kinds are considered in this exhibition, and in this season of exhibitions at VISUAL more generally. However, the intention of this thematic is not to focus purely on endings, but on the potential for survival and new life to continue after and through periods of cataclysmic change.


Opening weekend of the Spring Season 2023 includes the debut of KING: A dance and music duet performed by dancer Mufutau Yusuf (Junior) and sound-maker Mick Donohoe, directed by Emma Martin.

Tickets are free but booking is essential here.

Saturday 4 February – 4pm, 5pm

Sunday 5 February – 2pm

Artist Biography

Emma Martin started out a ballet dancer. As a choreographer her work spans dance, theatre opera and film. She creates multidisciplinary work often combining dance with live music, theatre ,creating distinct visual universes with each piece, always with a raw style of dance as its heart. She’s interested in the friction between rawness and refinement, high art and popular culture, past and future, order and chaos, homage and intent.

“I try to make dances and pieces to be felt- movement and ideas that inspire emotion and open up a porous exchange between performers and audience, honouring the invisible cellular energetic connective tissue the joins us, all of us pouring out reaching for that thing beyond our grasp, sharing the same air, dreaming into new realities together.”

She has a BA in Russian and Drama & Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin. As a choreographer she made her first show in 2010, and now produces work through her company United Fall since 2018. Her previous performance works include Night Dances, I AM IRELAND, Birdboy, Orfeo ed Euridice, Girl Song, Dancehall, Tundra. Her work has been shown at Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Dance Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Dublin International Film Festival.

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