CIACLA, in Santa Monica, will officially launch its pilot program on June 15, with the opening reception of ‘The Ladder is Always There’ an immersive site-specific installation, a kick off to their summer schedule of the best of contemporary Irish arts and culture

The pilot program of the newly established Contemporary Irish Arts Centre Los Angeles (CIACLA) will be officially launched on June 15, 2019, by special guest Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland – Western United States Michael Robert Myers - Chair of Santa Monica Arts Commission and Matthew Nevin - CIACLA's Executive Director.

Read more: Contemporary Irish Arts Center Los Angeles launches debut program

The center will begin its debut program with the opening reception of ‘The Ladder is Always There’ – a visual art exhibition by internationally renowned Irish performance artist Amanda Coogan. This immersive site-specific installation will be presented alongside a series of live performances on the night from Coogan in collaboration with local artists, from 6 - 9pm at Suite B1, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica.

“As Consul General of Ireland to Western United States, I am excited about the opening of the new Contemporary Irish Arts Center in Los Angeles (CIACLA) this summer, and honored to be asked to participate in the opening night on June 15," says O’Driscoll.

"The summer program developed by CICLA reflects the best of contemporary Irish arts and culture in one of the world’s great creative capitals, Los Angeles. I wish to pay tribute to the team at CIACLA for preparing a program that will undoubtedly inspire, astound and ignite the desire to experience and collaborate with multidisciplinary contemporary Irish art and culture.

"A key aim of CIACLA is to provide a space where connections can be made. The center will connect Irish and local artists and encourage participation from a wide-ranging audience. 

"I am particularly excited at the potential a platform such as CIACLA offers to reach, connect and showcase the Irish diaspora, and Irish cultural and heritage organizations, in California and across Western US" says Robert O'Driscoll.

CIACLA's Executive Director Matthew Nevin has been curating the work of emerging and upcoming Irish artists in Los Angeles for the past 8 years, alongside CIACLA's Director of Programming Ciara Scanlan. For this curatorial partnership, the establishment of a dedicated space for Irish contemporary art was the next logical step.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to oversee the launch of CIACLA with new work by one of Ireland’s leading artists Amanda Coogan," says Nevin. "It will be the only center of its kind on the west coast of USA, which we will use to provide a crucial resource for visiting Artists working across all disciplines, while also supporting the Irish diaspora based in California.”

Amanda Coogan is an s an internationally recognized and critically acclaimed Irish artist working across the medias of live art, performance, sculpture, and installation. She was a student of Marina Abramovic at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Germany and has been described by the Irish Times as "the leading practitioner of performance in the country."

Her extraordinary work is challenging, provocative and always visually stimulating. Using gesture and context she makes allegorical and poetic works that are multi-faceted, and challenge expected contexts. She is one of the most dynamic contemporary artists practicing in live art.

As with much of Coogan’s work, 'The Ladder is Always There' will consist of a large-scale, visually stunning form that carries poetic resonances.  The activities of the silent bodies of the performers engaging with the installation suggest multi-resonant layers of meaning. Their gestures, based on Irish Sign Language, alongside the pulsating soundtrack – relating to the Adrienne Rich poem, ‘Diving into the Wreck’, pour further rich sources to the work. ‘The Ladder is Always There’ speaks to a metaphorical journey in which Coogan and by extension, the other performers, dive into an obstacle or work to overcome it.

The center will also present an exhibition of work from Los Angeles based performance artist Thinh Nguyen as part of their local showcase program, running alongside Coogan's exhibition. The Center's summer program will also feature some of the most exciting talent from Ireland, with a multidisciplinary program of visual arts, theatre, performance, dance, music, literature, design, and film, running from June 15 until the end of August. 

The Center's June program also includes 'Care. Complicity. Critique.' a two-day event consisting of performances and a seminar curated by Dr. Katherine Nolan and the Association of Hysteric Curators on June 16 and 17, and 'Poetry Beyond Borders', a live poetry event curated by Jennifer Minniti- Shippey, Managing Editor of Poetry International, on June 22. 

As part of the performance event taking place on June 16, CACLA will be marking Bloomsday and celebrating the work of James Joyce with a series of readings from 'Ulysses'. 

CIACLA is made possible by the support of the Government of Ireland through the Emigrant Support Program and Culture Ireland. This is part of a broader investment by Ireland in its connections in Southern California, which includes the opening of a new Consulate General of Ireland in Los Angeles later this year.

Check out www.ciacla.com/program and www.ciacla.com/events for a full list of what’s on this summer!

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'The Ladder Is Always There' by Amanda CooganAmanda Coogan