25/05/2013 — 3/08/2013

Serena Korda

Aping the Beast

Seren Korda 'Aping the Beast' on location at Blackpool Tower Circus, 2013.

Image courtesy: Serena Korda

In Aping the Beast London-based British artist Serena Korda uses the staging of animal symbolism and folklore to explore questions of mimicry, spectacle, ritual and humour. The central work in the exhibition is a giant 15ft tall latex puppet dinosaur, created by Korda, recalling early B-movie horror films such as Godzilla or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The artist will also be premiering a new film, featuring the monster and Blackpool Male Voice Choir, shot on location in Blackpool’s historic Tower Circus.

The Beast will for the most part remain dormant as a sculptural presence within the gallery, but at certain moments will become ‘awakened’ as a puppet for performance events, culminating in an outdoor procession along Blackpool’s Golden Mile on Fri 19 July, recalling the history of carnival in the town.

Alongside these works Korda will be showing two further videos, both incorporating animals with symbolic resonance; The Prognosticator which depicts a feline psychic at work on a black cat, and The Transmitters which incorporates the tarantula spider, which Korda uses to explore ideas of expression, female hysteria and subjugation. The Transmitters references the Tarantella, a ritual dance in which women are bitten by the spider rendering them paralysed until coaxed out of paralysis by a lengthy dance that might continue for days.

The exhibition draws on the uncanny and mythical qualities of beasts to playfully probe the place of superstition in today’s society.


The Awakening
Sat 8th June 1pm, Grundy Art Gallery
The Beast is awakened in a ritual performed by local schoolchildren dressed as wizened old men known as ‘Boggarts’ – characters from Lancashire folklore, believed to malevolently wield destructive powers. Choreographed by Serena Korda and Rosie Heafford with music composed and performed by Grumbling Fur.

Fertility Orbit of the Boob Meteorite
Wed 3rd July 7.30pm, Grundy Art Gallery
The monster is seduced in a romantic duet with a female performer costumed in fake fossilised breasts – an orb of female energy. Featuring Julia Pond as the Boob Meteorite with music composed and performed by Grumbling Fur.

Aping The Beast Procession
Fri 19th July 2pm, meet at Grundy Art Gallery
Join us for a procession of the 15ft high monster-puppet along the Promenade with a finale in Blackpool Tower Circus. The performance features Blackpool Male Voice Choir and is choreographed by Serena Korda and Rosie Heafford with music composed by Daniel O’Sullivan (Grumbling Fur).

All events are free, no booking required. For further information please ask at the front desk.

The exhibition was previously at Camden Arts Centre 8 Mar-5 May 2013.

Aping the Beast is co-commissioned by Artsadmin Jerwood Commission, Camden Arts Centre, London and Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.