Rachel Macmanus is an artist based in Co Clare, Ireland. Her practice is drawing and live-art based. Her drawing practise is community-based portraiture and exploratory mark-making. Her live work focuses on endurance, repetition and using physical tasks as a form of relief from anxiety and stress. “I am interested in how our relationship with our body and its physical ability changes as we age. I use physical movement as a way to experience everything from endorphin based joy to exhaustion induced pain”.
Rachel has a BA in Visual Communications from NCAD Dublin and an MA in Fine Art from OCA, UK.
Rachel Macmanus uses repetition and physicality in her performance actions as a way to consider the actions we make every day but don’t think about. Here, in a performance-to-camera, she repeatedly recites a children’s rhyme, ‘Aon, dó’, in the Irish language. ‘Aon, dó’ is an Irish language rhyme taught to young Irish children, to help them learn to count and rhyme using the Irish language, which Irish children are predominantly not fluent in.
The rhyme is the Irish translated version of ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’. In the performance the artist allows the menace and tension within the rhyme to rise to the surface. The artist repeats the words over and over, but no audio can be heard, perhaps allowing different questions to be asked.
A haon, a dó, muc is bó,
A trí, a ceathair, bróga leathair,
A cúig, a sé, cupán tae,
A seacht, a hocht, seanbhean bhocht,
A naoi, a deich, císte te.
No sound can be heard as sound is a layer not required. The emotions have no sound and then they vanish. It could be compared to witnessing someone shouting angrily through a wound-up window of a car. The vehemence is visible but it’s neutered. It’s a short burst of vitriol, of unfettered emotion, making its presence felt through the silent utterances.