Allegra LaViola wrapped up “I Killed My Father, I Ate Human Flesh, I Quiver With Joy” this past weekend, a group show homage to the late filmmaker, writer and leftist intellectual, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
With a legacy of being a troublemaker, cultural incubator and sexual deviant, Pasolini spent a lifetime producing art, novels and poetry while remaining relentlessly critical of right-wing politics, and on occasion, the left-wing bourgeoisie. His working-class conviction eventually got him killed by a teenage boy who confessed to running him over in 1975. But get this, just 8 years ago he retracted his statement to the BBC, saying instead anti-communist extremists assassinated Pasolini and threatened the poor kid into confessing…or else. Shit.
Curated by Invisible Exports, 38 artists took aim at the life and work of Pasolini with both direct and indirect forms of tribute. Here are a few that struck my fancy:
Asger Carlsen’s digital collage gives me the spooks and I love it. Bringing the term 4-eyes to a new level, Asger creates a mutant out of a George Washington-esk looking lady. Here, the malformed woman seems to push the subject of the press conference slightly forward, a nudge of encouragement to who feels like the bearer of bad news. With the gaze of press, the viewer gives a double take in an overt but sly reshaping of an old snapshot.
Jennifer Needleman’s collages evoke wartime propaganda and mid-20th century ideas of family and community that came along with it. In Hawks & Sparrows 2, she beheads the character for rolled up newspapers, signifying perhaps the headlines of either doom or liberation suggested by the warplanes above. The dainty cloth gloves hints a young woman, as the papergirl seems to stride jubilant, both aloof and laden with what is happening around her.
In Hawks & Sparrows 3, the central character is in fact a sinking zeppelin, whose falling shape is parallel to the tree and posture of a resting man. The man is dressed in light colors and with the full trees and shrubbery surrounding him it feels like spring, or maybe fall. He appears to be reading as this pleasant park scene is infiltrated (in beautiful Pasolini style) by the bullet-shaped machine of war in the background.
Jeremy Kost’s Milford Plaza (Room 2116) depicts a hauntingly handsome fellow as he raises his dukes and seems to beg us with his eyes – or at least some of us – to unzip his worn denim pants. Too cute not to hustle, Jeremy snaps this image of a boy in a hotel room where gay for pay, or play, can occur in uninterrupted secrecy. This image comes from a long lineage in Jeremy’s work that both celebrates and investigates the male figure (and all those sharp angles that come with it) in queer, seductive and beautifully dangerous form. That body!
Leigha Mason’s 16mm Spit Banquet shares a grotesquely gorgeous ceremony of, well, spit. Passed between participants, a classy silver tray is filled with foamy fluids as their saliva drips tenaciously from their mouths, across their soused lips and down their chins. The pallet, candle lighting and white garbs suggest a purifying ritual, childless baptism or collective self-sacrament. Each person mixes it a little before passing it along like a charity plate, ending with a runny concoction that contains a little of everyone.
Contributed by Dean Dempsey.
*All images courtesy of Allegra LaViola