Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Supplicant 13

Milena Dragicevic

“I see a lot of my work as a resurrection of sorts, not for sentimental or nostalgic reasons, but for survival reasons.”

Initially the Supplicant series, like much of the BAS7, was to me – while certainly pretty to look at - somewhat lacking in the emotive ‘wham’ and connection that usually comes as a part of finding a significant piece of artistry. The portraits certainly seemed like they should have some meaning with their creepy distortions and cryptic hands (and hands always deserve discussion). But something fell flat, clearly, whether it was curatorial or intrinsic to the work, that made the whole feel flat.

Naturally, I turned to the guidebook. Fortunately, the guidebook was no good.

Reading the little paragraph left something to be desired, and rather than give up on what was none-the-less and interesting set to look at I took to thinking and talking it over with whoever would talk and looking up what the lady herself had to say about them. Calling them not psychological studies but “something for the future” the Supplicants, I realised, should probably be considered in the context of the entire show as, rather than the deep and perceptive ‘inner’ portraits of the models, prophetic things that act as both mask and guardian; they are ‘stand-ins’, but hideous ones that maybe reflect something beyond quite what we see, or what exists in the present. Perhaps there is a wryness too in the title; Supplicant - a person who ‘supplicates’ or prays, entreats or petitions humbly.

Who would answer the prayers of something so monstrous?

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