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Martin O’Brien


Martin’s work considers existence with a severe chronic illness within our contemporary situation.

Martin suffers from cystic fibrosis and his practice uses physical endurance, hardship, disgust, long durations and pain based practices to challenge common representations of illness and examine what it means to be born with a life threatening disease. His work is an act of resistance to illness, an attempt at claiming agency and a celebration of his body. Martin loves his body and his work is a form of sufferance in order to survive.

He has been commissioned and funded by the Live Art Development Agency, Arts Council England and the British Council. He has presented work in Britain and abroad including SPILL Festival of Performance (London), Chelsea Theatre, Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana), In Between Time Festival of Performance (Bristol), Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff), Grace Exhibition Space (New York), Gallery Art Claims Impulse (Berlin), Edinburgh Festival, The Basement (Brighton), LAX Studio (Los Angeles), Dansehallerne (Copenhagen). He was artist in residence at ]performance s p a c e[, London from January- June 2012 and has often collaborated with the pioneering performance artist Sheree Rose. Martin is currently in the final stages of completing an AHRC funded PhD at the University of Reading and is a visiting lecturer at several UK Universities. His work has been written about in several books and journals including Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability and the forthcoming Performance and the Medical Body.

Breathe for me:


Mucus Factory: 

Do With me as you Will: 

Date Title Venue City
8 December 2015 If it were the apocalypse I'd eat you to stay alive Toynbee Studios
26 February 2015 CONTAMINATION ROOM Toynbee Studios
22 November 2014 CONTAMINATION ROOM Toynbee Studios
Photo by Ana Godhino de Matos.