Overture For The End (An Ashen Place)

Martin O'Brien

  • MOBrien-AmbulanceToFutureCRYPT-36

    Photo: Zack Mennell

Past Event

This event was on Saturday 22 July, 6-10pm

Access Information

Overture For The End (An Ashen Place)
Martin O’Brien

Pre-booked tickets are now sold out.

Additional tickets will be available on the door on the night. 

Performance | 22 July | 6-10pm | £5

Bodies crawl through soot covered landscapes. A ghastly figure looms, unearthly sounds emanating from her mouth. A funeral procession for the living marches by, trumpets sounding, and the mourners weep but they don’t know why. A group of skeletal forms sit at a dining table as if awaiting a feast.

A spectacular exploration of death and immortality, Whitechapel Gallery Writer in Residence Martin O’Brien presents a newly commissioned performance work.

Overture For The End (An Ashen Place) transforms the gallery into a place of decay, part hellscape, part apocalyptic landscape, filled with strange bodies performing deathly actions. The performance imagines repetitive cycles of life and death, an eternity of continuation with a promise of death that never arrives. Taking on the figure of banshee and crone, legendary Los Angeles artist Sheree Rose watches over the actions and intervenes in the cycles.

Featuring O’Brien’s signature blend of humour, durational action and pain-based practice, the work calls in the undead to playfully imagine the potential for immortality, and a future without an eternity of nothingness.

Content Warning
Please be aware that this performance will feature nudity, sexual content, BDSM practices and a discussion of death.

This event is not suitable for those under the age of 18.   

About Martin O'Brien

Martin O’Brien is an artist and zombie. He works across performance, writing and video art. His work uses long durational actions, short speculative texts and critical rants, and performance processes in order to explore death and dying, what it means to be born with a life shortening disease, and the philosophical implications of living longer than expected. He has shown work throughout the UK; Europe; USA; and Canada, and is well known for his solo performances and collaborations with the legendary LA artist and dominatrix Sheree Rose. His most recent works were at Tate Britain in 2020, and the ICA (London) in 2021. He is winner of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Visual and Performing Arts 2022. He is writer in residence at Whitechapel Gallery throughout 2023. Martin has cystic fibrosis and all of his work and writing draws upon this experience. In 2018, the book ‘Survival of the Sickest: The Art of Martin O’Brien’ was published by Live Art Development Agency. His work has been featured on BBC radio and Sky Arts television. He is currently senior lecturer in Live Art at Queen Mary University of London.


An Eternity of Nothingness or The (Im)possibility of Living On

Read about Martin O’Brien‘s 2023 Writer in Residence project.