press release

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.


Kuratoren: Richard Livingston, Laura White

mit Caroline Achaintre, Alice Anderson, Phyllida Barlow, Angela Bartram, Juan Bolivar, Giles Corby, Richard Ducker, Nadine Feinson, Peter Fillingham, Oriana Fox, Amy Hurst, Max Hymes, Peter Lamb, Richard Livingston, Charlotte Moth, Giles Perry, Helena Pomford, Jamie Robinson, John Stark, Christopher Stevens, Nobuko Tsuchiya, Laura White, Jo Wilmot, Neil Zakiewicz