UNICORN vs MEDUSA @ Darling’s Attic

A Darling Pearls & Co Production in Partnership with Cable Depot.

Holly Crawford | Misha Mayfair | Stewart Home | Itziar Bilbao Urrutia | Nick Kilby

Curated by Alessandra Falbo

@Darling’s Attic : 13-18 Kinnoul Mansions, Rowhill Road, E5 8EB / Flat 18A

Online PV: 18 March 2020, 7-10PM // Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you are invited to our alternative online PV & drinks. You are invited to join our broadcast from Darling’s Attic, on your computer or phone. Live update soon 🙂

Q&A with Crawford, Mayfair & Urrutia : 8PM // postponed until the end of COVID-19 pandemic 🙂

Exhibition Continues: 19-27 March 2020

This is not a child friendly exhibition.

After an epic encounter between Unicorns and Gorgons as their classical and contemporary symbolism was revised and revisited in artworks by Holly Crawford, Misha Mayfair, Stewart Home, Itziar Bilbao Urrutia & Nick Kilby @Cable Depot (London), we invite you to UNICORN vs MEDUSA @ Darling’s Attic (London) where we will…

I.

Present some of the 200+ pieces from the ongoing series The Silence Drew Off, Laughing With Medusa (2019-2020) by Holly Crawford. These portraits created under the sign of Medusa are done in fragile media—WC on paper—but we are not fragile creatures of sugar and spice. Medusa is not nice! Nor quiet. Nor sugar. She is a beautiful and laughing presence. A mortal who was raped by a god and then turned into a Gorgon. She survives as a muse, a sign for powerful women and a symbol for our times.

The Gift: Several of Crawford’s art projects have dealt with gifting and art. Given the subject matter of this body of work—power, rape, abuse, and murder—the artist donates 25% of each sale to a charity selected by the collector. These donations are and will continue to be documented as part of the series.

Pieces from the series The Silence Drew Off, Laughing with Medusa by Holly Crawford are available here <3

II.

Screen UNICORN, an anthology film proposed by Itziar Bilbao Urrutia and comprised of four sections directed by Stewart Home, Misha Mayfair, Itziar Bilbao Urrutia herself and Nick Kilby. The film’s format is a reference to arthouse classics such as RoGoPaG, The Witches, and Coffee and Cigarettes – a format used by, among others, Godard, Pasolini, Jim Jarmusch and Francis Ford Coppola. Titles, as well as the synopsis for these sketches which have the unicorn as a common theme and protagonist, were revealed at UNICORN vs MEDUSA’s Private Reception @ Cable Depot. They read as follows:

Hexorcise 1: Stand Like A Tree & Shake Like A Leaf (2019) – 9’53’’- by Stewart Home features the artist running through a workout for the fit witch. It is the first in a series of combined fitness and magick videos Home has planned. In this first instalment initiates use shamanism to overcome the binary oppositions of gender and if diligent will fully realise themselves as hermaphrodite unicorns. Done correctly the exercise pushes a penis out through the forehead while removing the same organ from the crotch area of anyone blighted in this way. Future workouts will include Mind Control Boxing and Cauldron Swinging: Strength Secrets of the Feminist Supercrones.

Unicorn Hunting (2019) – 5’15” – by Misha Mayfair is a reflection of the modern dating phenomenon of the same name. Unicorn Hunting refers to the act of a couple seeking out usually a woman to join their bedroom in order to make it “more exciting”. The only appropriate way to respond to this hijacking of the liberation of women’s sexuality is witchcraft, think of this film as a guide.

FULLY SERVICED CUM DUMPSTER (2019) – 13’15’’ – by Itziar Bilbao Urrutia who is a London artist during the day and a professional dominatrix at night, originated from 17 years of electronic correspondence from her clients to her Femdom alter ego, Ms Tytania. In this film, she uses myth and metaphor to explore the theme of masculinity on the margins of respectable society; sexual and gender identity and what it means to be a deviant male in 2019. Her clients’ written angst is often the only opportunity to articulate their repressed sexual desires in their otherwise normative lives. Under pressure to conform to a monolithic form of masculinity that hasn’t changed much in 100 years, Itziar/Ms Tytania’s clientele confesses their self-loathing, secrecy and enforced toxic gender roles. At the root of the male submissive’s discourse of domination and submission, there’s often a need for purge, so life can continue as normal in the daylight. In FULLY SERVICED CUM DUMPSTER the unicorn is the traditional arbiter of purity and good sexual manners by day, but at night becomes charged with the rage that boils quietly under perfectly pressed shirts and smart ties.

The Runic No (2019) – 13’13’’ – is a short film lasting 13 minutes and 13 seconds that presents an overlapping and evolving cycle of a disrupted male gaze. It attempts to offer a polarity to the protruding and outward casting of the unicorn’s most recognisable feature; one that whilst being often couched within the context of the feminine through modern-day aesthetic values such as the Kawaii movement. By its very nature the unicorn and it’s horn summons what Cixous describes as ‘the masculine return’; a dichotomy that places the unicorn in the crosshairs of misandry. And the finger is on the trigger.

III.

Q&A (postponed) about the artworks and informal discussion about the question “How do you know whether it is art or porn?” from the perspectives of Holly Crawford, Misha Mayfair and Itziar Bilbao Urrutia.

Itziar Bilbao Urrutia (artist, pornographer and activist) has stopped asking herself this question. After becoming a fetish content producer & performer as well as a professional dominatrix to afford art college, she soon found out that, as a film genre, fetish porn was the perfect vehicle to explore her concerns as an artist. Her productions for an art context & for fetish content websites have become indistinguishable which is for some surprising and, for others, legally questionable. She will introduce the way these two different environments have coexisted in her practice since the early 2000s.

Misha Mayfair (porn actress, artist and activist) was nominated for Pornhub’s fetish performer of the year. Her pornography takes “male” gendered gonzo film making as a direct reference and subverts it in femme hardcore kinky films. Her artworks which have been displayed in art contexts nationally and internationally, focus on experiences of being a woman, spirituality and sex work.

Holly Crawford (artist and art historian) has created the series The Silence Drew Off, Laughing With Medusa in a way that keeps it unclear whether a multiplicity of phallic shapes are the famous snakes Medusa’s hair is made of or actually penises. In social media, while several artworks that present nudity are judged as pornographic images by pattern recognition algorithms her works are, due to their dubious outlook, not identified as containing nudity.

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Holly Crawford is an artist and art historian. She has been an artist her entire life. Her artistic practice encompasses research, live art, painting, photography, sculpture, sound art, video and installations. For many years now, her practice has been in the grey area between art and activism. Projects have exhibited internationally: I’m…who are you? Oh, so sorry. Nothing will happen to me? in the Research Pavilion in Venice, 2017. 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird site-specific installations in U.S. Consulate Gallery, Florence, Valencia, Berlin, London, The Lab, New York City, Chile and Riverside Art Museum, Southern California. Offerings project was a participating .net project at Ars Electronica. Found Punctuation was screened at the Tate Modern in 2007. Sound Art Limo and Critical Conversations in a Limo were part of the Armory Art Fair and the Melbourne International Arts Festival in 2007. She has written and edited books and papers that include: Attached to the Mouse, 2006 and catalogue essay in, “Disney and Pop” in Once Upon a Time Walt Disney Studio; Artistic Bedfellows, edited, 2008; her PhD is from the University of Essex in Art History and Theory, B.A and M.A. in Economics and M.S. in Behavioral Science from UCLA. She was a non-clinical Fellow at NYU Medical School Psychoanalytic Center and taught at UCLA in the Art Department and SVA. She founded AC Institute, a non-profit space in NYC for experimental work and books that are distributed by SPD. Born in California, she has moved a lot as a child and an adult. She now lives in New York City environs. Member of AICA-US chapter.http://art-poetry.info/

Misha Mayfair is an artist, activist and porn star who experiments with film, identity and performance. Having studied anthropology and having spent years staring in and making porn she explores the Other and the body as socially and psychologically constructed idea and location of politics. Her work uses surrealism, body horror and dreamscapes to express the experience of being a marginalised woman. Misha Mayfair currently works with the journal Acéphale which can be found here: www.thesacredconspiracy.com

Stewart Home is an award-winning visual artist and author of fifteen novels, seven works of cultural commentary, one collection of poetry and one collection of stories. His most recent solo exhibition was Dual Flying Kicks at 5 Years in June 2018. His most recent book is Re-Enter The Dragon: Genre Theory, Brucesploitation & the Sleazy Joys of Lowbrow Cinema (Ledatape Organisation, September 2018). Home was born and lives in London. When he isn’t shredding copies of his own books as live art, he likes to entertain audiences by standing on his head and spewing obscenities. – https://www.stewarthomesociety.org/

Itziar Bilbao Urrutia is a visual artist, activist and pornographer based in London. Her practice is linked to its many sexual subcultures. Her interest in the disobedience of the Monstrous Feminine has led her to explore mediums unrelated to the art tradition, such as porn as a film genre. Since 2004, her projects have been based on an exploration of the international fetish scene as a space of identity and praxis, that lead her to establish her own fetish porn studio, The Urban Chick Supremacy Cell. Using digital adult content as a form of survival and of expression, she mixes the discourse of Femdom with the aesthetics and rhetoric of historical radical action and feminism, such as Valerie Solanas and the Baader-Meinhof group. – @itziarbilbaourrutia

Nick Kilby is an artist working predominantly within the field of performance art and sound. He is currently undertaking a doctoral program of research at DMU which investigates broken and ruptured masculinities within 20th and 21st Century moving image, alongside the critical need for feminist allyship within the immediate time of a post #MeToo environment. He lives in the North of England. – Instagram @0ddph0d0s

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