curated by Richard Livingston and Laura White
In the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast an opposition is set up between ideas of beauty and bestiality, between
attraction and repulsion, through the roles of humans and animals. But are these apparent opposites of idealistic
beauty and repelling ugliness, truly polar or rather ever-changing and interchanging variables, undergoing
metamorphosis? If so, this would shift the responsibility onto the viewers to make up their own mind, to see
beneath the surface of the visual and skin deep.
The viewer may choose not to compare extreme opposites but to negotiate the movement and flow between the
two, weaving an individual path between that which is beastly, dysfunctional and dangerous and that which is
beautiful, seductive and enticing.
The journey is by no means a linear one, but creates tension through opinion and association, between visceral
response and rational judgement. (The young body becomes the rotting body and the predator becomes the
prey.) Each state of beauty and beast contains the other, defines the other.
This tale also reflects the complex relations between humans and animals and the confusion of the human and
animal perspective. The idea of the beast is not just related to animals, but in human terms, describes the very
unpleasant and disagreeable. The beast can be seen as a metaphor for things that are uncivilised or
uncomfortable. Actions deemed 'inhuman,' monstrous or transgressive, are seen as simulating the behaviour of
an animal or beast.
Both between and within individual works, there is a push and pull between fantasy and reality, desire and
aversion to raise questions regarding the relationship between beauty and beast.
|[click here for images]
exhibition dates: 8 September - 1 October 2006
opening hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 1-6 pm