This March, London-based British artist Serena Korda realises an ambitious project, Aping the Beast, a theatrical rendering of animal symbolism and folklore. Showing in Gallery 3 at Camden Arts Centre
and consisting of two new films, a large sculptural installation and a series of performances, the project expresses ideas of the spirit, soul and fears of the unknown which preoccupy people and are confronted through imitation, spectacle, ritual and humour. Serena Korda: Aping the Beast runs at Camden Arts Centre from 8 March until 5 May and admission is free.
The central spectacle is a four-metre tall monster-puppet which dramatically fills the gallery. This menacing beast produced by Korda in latex is reminiscent of early B movies such as Godzilla or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, rather than replicating the realism of recent cinema. Her new films showing in the exhibition The Prognosticator and The Transmitters also star symbolic mystical creatures - a feline psychic who reveals its fortune telling capacities and a bristling tarantula which features alongside dancers and musicians taking part in a cult like ritual in a nondescript village hall.
Throughout the exhibition Kordas giant monster will star in a number of performances, The Awakening a ritual involving 25 local school children dressed as boggarts - wizened old men from Lancashire folklore, believed to wield destructive powers; Fertility Orbit of the Boob Meteorite, a romantic duet with a female performer costumed in fake fossilised breasts and lastly as the finale of a procession from Camden Arts Centre through Hampstead to Whitestone Pond.
Throughout Aping the Beast Korda demonstrates her interest in how the fears, dreads or other forms of secular belief and superstition are channelled through the images of popular culture. The potency of the work lies in the power exerted over us by hand made things and peoples belief in invisible or super-human powers.
Aping the Beast is co-commissioned by an Artsadmin Jerwood Commission, Camden Arts Centre, London and Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool. The exhibition will tour to Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool 25 May 3 August 2013 and will premiere a new film produced in the circus at the bottom of Blackpool Tower.
Serena Korda was born in 1979 and lives and works in London. She studied at Middlesex University and completed her MA in Printmaking at Royal College of Art in 2009. She had a solo exhibition Theres a Strange Wind Blowing, Tintype Gallery, London in 2010; and has had film and performances included in various exhibitions including Laid to Rest, Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life, Wellcome Collection, London (2011); Spaces for the Imagination Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); and The Library of Secrets, New Art Gallery Walsall; Whitstable Biennale (2008/09). She was awarded the Deutsche Bank Prize and the Start Point Prize for her graduation show at the RCA in 2009. In 2010 she had a residency at Camden Arts Centre for which she produced a performance called Decosa, Tradition Stockholm, keifer pin. Serena Korda is represented by Tintype, London.