Ahead of their new London exhibition, the NY-based artist plays between the realms of the uncomfortable and the humorous as she captures a sweet ‘baby’ being licked into life
Last time we checked in with art collective Girls Only they were joining forces with progressive London model hub Anti-Agency, an exhibition that saw artists such as Arvida Byström break down the traditional notions of beauty. Back with new work from photographer Kelsey Bennett, the New York native has created a short film specifically for new exhibition Pistil! Pistol! – a show that sees the girls play on their interpretations of the infamous Rorschach tests. In particular, Bennett took a certain liking to the ‘Mother’ and the ‘Sex’ cards, an interest that culminates in a short film where model Abby Wilson (‘like a mother giraffe’) licks a baby – at least, the sugared, sweet version of one – into life. Bennett explains; “I was in a baking supply shop on 22nd Street and saw a baby made of sugar and thought, ‘what would it look like to watch someone lick this baby until there's nothing left of it?’ I brought the baby with me to London – it was precious cargo! I was concerned the whole trip that it might lose a limb or something.”
The catch comes, when – on a beige surface, void bar a little red ‘moist spot’ that Bennett claims is ‘the whole point’ – the footage is reversed and the ‘baby’ is literally birthed on-screen. What might gross you out is, of course, purely deliberate, an instilled sense of the ‘uncomfortable’ and a good dose of dark humour that Bennett claims was key to making the film successful. “I don't want people to think when they watch it, I want them to feel. I wanted to make people laugh. I think it's important to feel uncomfortable, and more importantly I think it's important to feel comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, and humor helps that happen.” Opening tonight, the show also features Bennett’s ‘inkblot’ inspired photography alongside the work of London collaborator Kirsty Buchanan and Alba Hodsoll, as well as the release of a cheeky zine titled My Titties Are Sisters Not Twins, courtesy of Girls Only curator Antonia Marsh and Bennett herself – get a glimpse of below.
Pistil! Pistol! is on show this weekend at Celestine Eleven, London. For more information, click here