By Destiny Crawford-Corri
Modern Panic is a controversial and provocative exhibition full of art, sculptures and photographs by many different talented artists; it’s curated by James Elphick of Guerrilla Zoo. Having previously been to the annual showcase when it was known as Manic Panic, it returned for it’s eighth incarnation featuring more than 50 acclaimed international artists and live art practitioners, whose controversial works explore the surreal, the political and the taboo.
The press view was held on October 12th 2017. The door hosts were extremely welcoming, complimenting us on our style choices and bright hair. I noticed instantly that people sort of kept to themselves or to the group they had come with; meandering around the exhibition. The exhibition was laid out in two main rooms and the performance space upstairs where live acts performed.
The first room was small and intimate. Your attention becomes drawn to the statue lying on the floor; a naked steel female form seemed to be making herself squirt and water was coming from her vagina. This piece is rightly named the ‘Fountain of the Goddess’ and was made by Kristin Barnes. Initially I thought that maybe the female was just having a wee but after analysing the hand placement she was definitely making herself squirt. My attention was then drawn to one of my favourite pieces from the whole exhibition; its aptly named ‘Do not go gentle…’ by Guy Wilthew. A strong manly hand dripping in silver jewellery choking a blindfolded girl. Some people may see that as a bit taboo but I feel like we are all becoming more open about what we get up to sexually and it’s almost become the ‘Norm’. There were also two beautiful digital prints on fine art paper by Natalie Shau. ‘Forest Baby’ and ‘Wendigo’ are situated in forests with the most porcelain, beautifully delicate girls who are in the arms of these dark beings; almost like an updated beauty and the beast vibe.
In the space where you enter there were also exhibit pieces. If you are familiar with the bible you will know that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are known as The Holy Trinity; artist Natalie Shau decided to be controversial and do a play on that. She created a piece called ‘Unholy Trinity’ where you see the opposite (maybe satan’s version) with three dark females clothed in black cloth. Now upon seeing a marmite jar inside a box I was thinking of skipping it but was intrigued to see why it was an art piece; I found out soon enough when I discovered marmite had been replaced with sodomite. Deborah Griffin named it ‘You Either Love It Or Hate It’ which I couldn’t help but giggle at. Of course anal sex was seen as extremely taboo and was mostly enjoyed by Gay people. However, in 2017 there was an increase in straight people admitting that they partook in the act and thoroughly enjoy it. Now theres no point being naive of course people have been doing it for ages but people were being more open.
The second room was way bigger than the first. You can’t help nut notice the massive sculpture of a naked Teresa May who is ‘fuckin’ herself with a handheld flag. There is so much truth to this piece as technically our country is at the ‘mercy’ of her and she’s just pleasing herself; it’s called ‘Our Teresa’ by Ellie Pennick. Unfortunately in our society women are made to feel that they have to look perfect all the time and if we don’t have certain attributes we are made to feel bad and as if we are less feminine. I think this is the reason Emily Robinson did a female form named ‘The Flawed Female’ consisting of short unpainted nails, saggy boobs, rolls in the stomach and pubic hair.
You never know at modern panic what you’re going to get. I for one am not judgemental and am quite open minded. I personally loved this exhibition and thought it was a breathe of fresh air. Most exhibitions I go to I find boring and full of art that just doesn’t make sense. No one will ever leave a Modern Panic exhibition disappointed.