Flesh and Tongue | Elaine Hoey

Flesh and Tongue is a new exhibition of work by the artist Elaine Hoey. The exhibition questions the negative representation of the ‘monstrous’ female body through the exploration of the myth of Medusa. Historically Medusa has been depicted as either a monster or a beautiful woman who was raped, blamed, then transformed into a raging monster and subsequently beheaded. Medusa became the archetypal feminine monster portrayed as a fusion of femininity, erotic desire, violence, death and capable of turning men into stone with a mere gaze. 

Using video and performance, digital painting, installation and expanded photography, Hoey examines representations of the feminine monster and its relationship to narrative, vernacular, feminist critisism and taboos. The female body has continuously been a battlefield of diverging ideologies, biopolitical control, values and modifications. It is seen as reproductive, sexual, as property, a place of purity, as Eve and the Virgin Mary, of transgression and flesh and monstrous appetites. Ultimately the monstrous feminine can be reclaimed as a site to challenge patriarchal power and subvert traditional ideals of the female form.

Elaine Hoey works mainly creating interactive based installations, appropriating contemporary digital art practices and aesthetics to explore the politics of digital humanity and our evolving relationship with the screen. She describes her process as ‘experimental’ and is interested in exploring digitally native and new forms of art. Her work often addresses and critiques themes arising from identity, place and the biopolitical body. Her virtual reality works commonly include immersing the viewer in performative and often uncomfortable roles within her digitally constructed worlds. She works through a wide variety of mediums such as, virtual reality, AI systems, video, gaming, installation and live performance, including remote cyber performance. Recent exhibitions include Desire; A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age at the Irish Museum of Modern Art Dublin (2019-2020) co-curated by Rachel Thomas and Yuko Hasegawa (MOT); Unflattering at The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea, curated by Soojung YI, (2020) and Citizen Nowhere Citizen Somewhere at The Crawford Gallery, Cork (2020). Other exhibitions include The Dictionary of Evil, Gangwon International Biennale, South Korea; Futures,The RHA, Dublin; Turbulence, The Model Sligo; Open Codes, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany; Surface Tension,Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; FILE SP Fiesp Cultural Centre, São Paulo, Brazil and The Ground Opened up (2017), The National Sculpture Factory, Cork.