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Incarnating and articulating the female other. Interview with Helena Walsh

Christelle Serée-Chaussinand et Helena Walsh

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Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en mai 2020.

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You are Irish you say lightly, and allocated to you are the tendencies to be wild, wanton, drunk, superstitious, unreliable, backward, toadying and prone to fits, whereas you know that in fact a whole entourage of ghosts resides in you, ghosts with whom the inner rapport is as frequent, as perplexing, as defiant as with any of the living.
Edna O’Brien, Mother Ireland, 1976.

I need to bear witness to an uncertain event. I feel it roaring inside of me – this thing that may not have taken place. I don’t even know what name to put on it. I think you might call it a crime of the flesh, but the flesh is long fallen away and I am not sure what hurt may linger in my bones.
Anne Enright, The Gathering, 2007.

Christelle Serée-Chaussinand (CSC)Your practice as a live artist for fifteen years has had the female body as its central motif. From “Passageway” or “Invisible Stains” to “Tricolour”...

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Christelle Serée-Chaussinand et Helena Walsh, « Incarnating and articulating the female other. Interview with Helena Walsh », Études irlandaises [En ligne], 43-1 | 2018, mis en ligne le 30 mai 2020, consulté le 18 février 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/etudesirlandaises.5544

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Christelle Serée-Chaussinand

Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, TIL EA 4182. Christelle Serée-Chaussinand is Associate Professor at the Université de Bourgogne (Dijon) where she currently holds the position of Vice-President in charge of undergraduate and graduate levels. She teaches contemporary Irish literature, civilisation and culture. Her special research interests lie in autobiographical writings and portraiture or self-portraiture in literature as well as in the visual arts. She has published several articles on contemporary Irish literature and art, in particular on such writers and artists as Sean O’Faolain, Sebastian Barry, Derek Mahon, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, Sinéad Morrissey or Louis le Brocquy. She is a member of Centre Interlangues TIL (EA4182) and has recently run a research seminar on contemporary creation in its relation to critical theory: "Critical theory and creation: questioning images". She is a member of the editorial board of Interfaces: Texte Image Language, an international bilingual journal dedicated to intermediality / word and image.

Helena Walsh

Helena Walsh is a live artist from Co. Kilkenny Ireland. She has been based in London since 2003. Her practice explores the relations between gender, national identity and cultural histories. Drawing on her lived and embodied experience through her work Helena seeks to positively violate the systems, borders and rules that construct gender. In 2009 she received a Doctorate Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to undertake a practice-based PhD in the Department of Drama, Queen Mary University of London, which she completed in 2013. Her doctoral research, is entitled, ‘Live Art and Femininity in Post-Conflict Ireland: Between Negation and Reproduction, Rebellion and Conformity.’ Helena has performed widely in galleries, museums, theatres and non-traditional art spaces, including public sites. Her current research practice is focused on the legacies of feminist activism. As part of this research, in 2016 Helena performed a new site-responsive live art work that considers the activism of the women imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin following the 1916 Rising in relation to contemporary tensions between nationalism and feminism. This was featured in 'Future Histories' at Kilmainham Gaol in 2016 as part of the Arts Council of Ireland's 2016 programme.

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