In my world, hyper-masculine cowboys are underwhelming lovers, tragic country music stars appear on rhinestoned TV sets only to have their performances interrupted by chaotic Lynchian-style advertisements; a vampiric Margaret Thatcher pours blue-top milk over herself in sheer elation after the news of her party’s election success, and gender-non-conforming turn-of-the-century Birmingham crime bosses can time travel to present-day to perform cabaret at Manchester house parties. These characters are as chaotic as one would imagine and each is served with a characteristic combination of pomp, queerness, repugnance, and glamour. They are shapeshifters that manifest to audiences across many different media. This multidisciplinary nature of my practice, which operates across performance, film, installation and painting, is best and most simply explained by, filmmaker and painter, David Lynch:
“Some ideas are films and some ideas are paintings”
(David Lynch, Lynch on Lynch, 1993)
Dichotomies occur constantly throughout the work. Sexuality is often characterised with an element of revulsion, beauty goes hand-in-hand with bad-taste, and images of love and romance are inextricable from those of trauma and melancholy. Boundaries between masculinity and femininity are in constant flux, and Barbarella-style green screen technology is employed to disorientate viewers from what is real and what is supernatural/ hallucinatory.
“ I always want to be somewhere between 80% beautiful and 20% disgusting”
(Katya Zamolodchikova, RuPaul’s Drag Race, 2015)
Revelling in these contradictions, I create parodies, imitations, and counterfeit versions of cultural icons with the intention of finding the most ridiculous and unexpected way of presenting earnest political messages.
By referencing or entirely adopting and embodying pop icon personas, I am re-writing and corrupting their narratives to produce new, critical associations that produce uncanny and un-convincing advertisements for familiar culture.
Tammy Wynette 1973 Still from Stand By Your Man, digital film.
Still from live performance (Grenville, 2020)
Grenville, K., 2020. Stand By Your Man. [video] Available at: <https://www.katiegrenville.com/stand-by-your-man> [Accessed 1 June 2020].
Lynch, D. and Rodley, C., 1993. Lynch On Lynch. P.28.
Wynette, T., 1973. Tammy Wynette - Tammy With George. [image] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJLlEnkWADw> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Zamolodchikova, K., 2015. Rupaul's Drag Race, Season 7 Episode 7.