Belfast artist wins RUA Annual Exhibition inaugural Video Award for a performance piece exploring her experience with epilepsy

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Misshapen States by Molly Martin can be viewed at:

Belfast artist Molly Martin is the first recipient of the new Video Award, sponsored by Hamilton Architects, at the 141st RUA Annual Exhibition.

The practice, which has supported the Academy for many years, was keen to sponsor this exciting new category, which attracted nearly 50 entries.

Paul Millar, Partner, presented Molly with the award for her work ‘Misshapen States’ at the gala opening of this year’s exhibition, which runs until 3rd January 2023.

The video, of 9min 13secs duration, is a performance-based piece that experiments with the sensed boundaries of the body and mind.

“It is an attempt at connection with the most intense experiences of my unconscious body,” said Molly, who suffers from epileptic seizures. “It is a grasp for understanding of what the body has experienced, but the conscious mind has not.

“It is both a corporeal and vocal performance, bringing a physicality to something elusive in the embodied experience that I have not, and will not, ever reach.

“Through unconscious, unlived experiences occurring from my epileptic seizures, it explores concepts of consciousness, control and endurance in intense environmental and physical situations, to consciously induce states of involuntary movement, whilst considering the self as a body, an object, an obstacle.”

Molly’s practice combines a mix of photography, video and performance. She focuses largely on personal themes, using endurance and the body as a performative tool.

She is a graduate of Ulster University with a BA (Hons) in Photography with Video and International Study from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design.

The Video category judges were: Peter Richards of Golden Thread Gallery; Angela Halliday of Digital Art Studios; and Anna Liesching, Curator of Art at Ulster Museum.

The RUA Exhibition, which is free to view, is the highlight of Northern Ireland’s artist calendar and features entries from artists working in a range of artforms including painting, sculpture, photography, audio, multi-media, glass and ceramics.