This is Offal (residency)

© Joeri Thiry, STUK - Huis voor Dans, Beeld & Geluid

This is Offal (residency)

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley

This Is Offal traverses in tragicomic form the most serious and persistent of human disasters: suicide. In the performance, a pathologist uncovers and examines the body of a woman, whose own organs speak their confusion, discontent, and misunderstanding of her suicide in a riotous wordplay-filled dialogue. As the actual speakers in the drama, the liver, stomach, intestines and other organs signify the ‘offal’ of the film’s title and the ‘awful’ irrevocability of the act, which they protest. 

By enacting Camus’ philosophy of the absurd as a counter to suicide, This Is Offal also satirizes a long fascination with the beautiful, dead, silent woman as subject for art: from innumerable examples in Victorian poetry to contemporary autopsy-centric television shows. The female body in This Is Offal is decidedly un-silent, yet as her own organs argue over what happened, they also deny the hope of a rational, scientific explanation for the most tragic and motivationally complex of human actions.
Mary Reid Kelley, October 2015.

This is Offal was performed live and video streamed for BMW Tate Live: Performance Room on 19 November 2015.

It will be reworked during two residencies at STUK to be presented as a live performance and an installation that will have its première at the Foreign Affairs Festival in Berlin from 5 till 17 July 2016 and at the Playground festival (STUK & Museum M, Leuven) from 17 till 20 November 2016.


Mary Reid Kelley combines painting, performance, and her distinctive poetry in polemical and stylized videos. Made in collaboration with her partner, Patrick Kelley, her videos have been exhibited at the Hammer Museum, the ICA Boston, the Neuer Kunstverein Wien, and SITE Santa Fe. She is the recipient of the 2011 Rome Prize, the 2013 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and the 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship. Reid Kelley lives and works in upstate New York. 


This Is Offal is commissioned and produced as part of Corpus, network for performance practice. The next phase of this project is commissioned for Playground 2016 (STUK Kunstencentrum & M-Museum, Leuven) and will be presented at Berliner Festspiele / Foreign Affairs 2016 by KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin). Corpus is Bulegoa z/b (Bilbao), CAC (Vilnius), KW (Berlin), If I Can’t Dance (Amsterdam), Playground (STUK & M, Leuven), and Tate Modern (London). Corpus is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.  

STUK Studio
Mon 14 Mar 2016 - Sat 19 Mar 2016.
Sun 19 Jun 2016 - Sun 3 Jul 2016.

This Is Offal won the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel 2016.

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