Venus Patel—Monsters of the Apocalypse
Opening reception: 6–8pm Thursday 13th AprilOpening Night Performance: The Preacher's SermonRegister hereExhibition continues: Thursday 14th– Thursday 28th AprilClosing Event Performance: The Preacher's Sermon - 28th April, 6:00pm
Pallas Projects/Studios are pleased to present Venus Patel—Monsters of the Apocalypse, the second exhibition of our 2023 Artist-Initiated Projects programme.
The end of the world is upon us. Plumes of fog erupt from the earth. Solar flares burstinto the atmos. The oceans boil and swell, flooding shores around the planet. And finally, monsters appear, walking among us, spreading fear, portending our doom. But among this devastation, a messiah appears before us. To make meaning. To give us hope. To show us the beauty in monstrousness that we must all accept. What many have feared shall be viewed through a new, shining, light. The societal norms that we so stubbornly hold in such high regard shall be ripped from us and hurled into hellfire. The demarcations of gender, shattered within an instant. Our bodies will hold no clear signifiers; only their individuality.
Monsters of the Apocalypse acts as a queer reimagining of the end of the world, a well as a proposal for what a new one might look like. Using the language and presentation of radical preachers, Patel delves into the root of monstrosity. In her book, ‘The Monstrous Feminine’, Barbara Creed writes “the abject is that which does not respect borders, positions and rules and disturbs identity, systems and order.” Creed explores the depictions of the female monster within horror and uses these archetypes to create a link to our societal fears of symbolic hierarchies being destroyed. It is worth considering the etymological origin of the word ‘monster’, deriving from the Latin “monstrum”, which means to foretell, remind, or instruct.
For example, the Monster of Ravenna, depicted in The Monster of the Liberties, was first sighted in 1512 in a period of extreme political unrest. Its distorted signifiers revealed more specific fears in the public consciousness; the horn jutting out of its head, a symbol of pride; an eye on the knee, looking away from heaven and towards earthly desires; a penis and a vagina, symbolizing sexual deviancy and sodomy; the list goes on.
However, in essence, the monster has always been a transgressor of cultural norms. It is an innovator, providing an alternative to linear, conformist mindsets. A monster acts as a source of difference and uniqueness, that should be aspired to. The monsters in this work tell a story of our current societal issues, but rather than fear them, we must accept them to find our only way out. The Monstrous Transfeminine, for example, is a blurring of gender and bodily distinctions. The typically hard lines between feminine vs masculine, animal vs human, and animate vs inanimate, are made fuzzy. Using her own experience living as a transfemme of color within a Eurocentric heteronormative society, Patel incorporates radical relations between the norm and the other. She investigates how the monstrous body (the “other”) can be used to create fear and revulsion, but also as a site of exploration and societal growth. In us, we all have a monster waiting to get out, but to find them, we must die, and we must be reborn.
"Sunday School: Creatures of the Underworld" Workshop
Register here - Only 20 tickets available!
Friday, 22nd April 4-8pm
Delving deeper into the thematic nature of "Monsters of the Apocalypse", this workshop will be an immersive, reimagining of Sunday School, implementing tactics of childhood education with an approach to religion. Lasting for about an hour and half, it will consist of 5 short periods: story time, craft making, music learning, game-time, and finishing with a prayer and reflection period. Mess around, have fun, play with each other, and learn more about the fantastical world of monstrousness.
BiographyVenus Patel is an experimental film and performance artist based in Dublin. She was born in Los Angeles with a BA in Fine Art from TU Dublin. In 2022, her short film, Eggshells won the Taylor Art Award from the RDS Visual Art Awards, was shown as part of the Gaze Film Festival, and exhibited for Periodical Review 12: Practical Magic with Pallas Projects. She has recently performed and collaborated in the making of “Privilege: The Musical”, and “Hive City Legacy: Dublin” as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival 2022, as well as being put forward for the Future Generation Art Prize 2022 by its Irish partner platform Pallas Projects Studios.
Patel’s work concerns her experience as a trans femme of colour, trying to navigate the world. Through the use of costuming and loose gender expression, she encapsulates the campy blend of her queer identity. Venus questions the heteronormative society we live in, why the need to conform is so heavily enforced, and how that affects the perceptions of ourself, others, and the world around us. Although her work deals with serious subject matter, she utilises a unique mix of humour, absurdity, and abjection to create multi-faceted performances and experiences.
Artist-Initiated Projects at Pallas Projects/Studios is an open-submission, annual gallery programme of 8 x 3-week exhibitions taking place from March-November 2023. This unique programme of funded, artist-initiated projects selected via open call is highly accessible to artists, with a focus on early career, emerging artists and recent graduates. Projects are supplemented with artists' talks, texts, workshops or performances, and gallery visits by colleges and local schools.
Pallas Projects/Studios is funded by The Arts Council
Image description: Venus stands in a Dublin street with her hands reaching out and looking to the side of the camera, covered by a fur scarf and wrapped in colourful transparent film, pieces of which are also hanging behind her, connected to Venus by intertwining wires.
Audio description: soundbite.speechify