Erin Ellen Kelly

born St. Louis, MO 1976
St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Erin Ellen Kelly is a body-based artist, bringing training in dance, gymnastics, somatics, Qigong, Butoh, and action-theater to create performances and temporary collages. In her multimedia presentations, choreography, and site-specific performances and installations, staged in bombed-out buildings, boats, gardens, gutted stores, and galleries, Kelly explores the body’s relationships to spaces and society in metaphorical, ritual, historical, and functional contexts. She draws on intensive research from archives, literature, and what can be felt or observed in specific sites, from street corners to snowdrifts and deserts, as well as life experiences ranging from farmwork to go-go dancing. Commenting on her approach, Kelly observes, “Liminal spaces intrigue me, the places in between. My path is one of curiosity; it honors the capacity of the body, and its intelligence.”


After moving to New York City in 1999 to study at Movement Research, where she was later an artist-in-residence, Kelly was a member of the multidisciplinary, multimedia international artist collective, Ransom Corp. until 2002. In her early years, she regularly performed at music venues across the country. Realizing how architecture and audience shaped these experiences, Kelly came to focus on the interrelation between, and politics of, the body and environment in her choreographic process. Kelly cocreates regularly with artists and musicians. In 2006, she began Performed Places with artist Mariam Ghani, a long-term collaboration combining dance and video choreography to reanimate histories of significant sites.


A two-channel video from Performed Places is in the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Kelly’s solo and collaborative work has been presented at festivals, institutions, and museums in the United States and internationally, including Documenta 13 in

Germany and Afghanistan; the Serpentine Gallery, London; Sharjah Biennial 9, UAE; Beijing 798 Biennial; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; Anchorage Museum of Art, Alaska; and the Danspace Project and the Queens Museum, New York..