British artist Serena Korda’s theatrical rendering of animal symbolism and folklore titled Aping the Beast which has been ongoing at the Camden Arts Centre, finished with a bang yesterday, (Saturday 4 May). The performance piece began with a procession from the center at 3:00 pm. It included children wearing spooky latex masks, looking like bald dwarves, a large Godzilla head and the now infamous Boob Meteorite. The group marched from the Camden Arts Centre to Hampstead Heath’s Whitestone pond, where the performance culminated with a re-enactment of The Battle of the River Plate. The monster was laying in wait to do battle and devour the World War II U-boats. Serena Korda orchestrated this ambitious finale to her exhibition at the Centre and it will be memorable in years to come by the artist community and the public in NW3 at large.
The central spectacle was a towering monster puppet handmade in latex, reminiscent of early B-movies such as Godzilla or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Within all her work Korda is interested in the way secular beliefs and superstitions are channelled through images in popular culture.These works and a series of performances involving the monster expand upon ideas of the spirit and fears of the unknown which are confronted through imitation, spectacle, ritual and humour. It was inspiring to watch people photograph from the top decks of buses and traffic grind to a halt in Hampstead, as a crowd of several hundred observed the spectacle.
The Boob Meteorite, presented a ritual ballet featuring the Japanese superstar Godzilla. It was manipulated by a trained team using bamboo poles. The diminutive dancer clad in an agglomeration of boobs, gracefully pirouetting around the pond. Low-tech materials and artifice evidence the hand-made, exuding innocence and the charm of old-style B-movies like Godzilla and King Kong. The battle of the monster U-Boats, was accompanied by music. It was refreshing, silly and strange, but in context with the other works, addresses issues of greater meaning to do with the power of ritual. It was a sunny but chilly May day. The rain cleared and light refractions illuminated the pond creating a riveting backdrop for the production.
Photos: Jake Robinson © ArtLyst 2013
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