Serena Korda: Ruffle My Hair and Basket Star, 2022
‘Ruffle My Hair’ was a solo show that continued to walk in the footsteps of my giantess and her imagined world. At the centre of this show is her divinatory pendulum ‘Basket Star’ which echoes the spiralling, tentacular arms of the deep sea creature by the same name. In this work I was rethinking the deathly gaze of Medusa recasting her as a victim raped by Poseidon, punished by Athena and then decapitated by Perseus.
‘Peekaboo’ beckons you in from the street and was the first of the sculptures I made after completing ‘And She Cried me a River.’ In many cases I felt like I was being visited by Saint Lucy patron saint of the blind who was dismembered and had her eyes plucked out. I realised I was making a tear vessel. I had begun to consider the recurring tear motif in many of the beads of my giant necklace and started to think about grief, eyes, looking, seeing, and the female gaze. Saint Lucy patron saint of the blind is often depicted holding her eyes on a plate. ‘Peekaboo’ sets the scene for the giant tear drop that is ‘Basket Star’. At once Peekaboo’s cartoon googly eyes strike an uneasy sense of humour and pathos as they teeter in the air on stalks that are somewhere between an optic nerve and a fallopian tube.
Basket Star evolved as I was being visited by St Lucy and Medusa in my studio both characters ingrained in our collective unconscious, both victims of patriarchal futility and storytelling. Medusa in particular is demonised yet has been reclaimed as a symbol of feminism who represents both power and trauma in equal measure. If you look closely at the snakes that make up Basket Star they are all smiling appearing to be friendly and endearing rather than playing out their usual role in the Judeo-Christian tradition as venomous, evil and toxic we are reminded of their transformative healing potential. In pre-Christian times people were said to sleep in healing temples which would be inhabited by non venomous snakes. ‘Basket star’ celebrates regeneration and power whilst referencing the recurring theme of grief and mourning that these women’s stories provoke. When you stand back and look at Basket Star you see this is a divinatory pendulum for a giantess who needs a helping hand and its overall form takes on that of a giant tear drop.
‘Say it with Your Eyes’, a pair of inlaid eyes that the audience are encouraged to pick up, hold and look through, are comforting yet also a useful tool for looking closely. Once the viewer holds the eye up they become the Stygian Witch from “Clash of the Titans”. The Stygian witches are blind and see through a shared mystical eye which they hold up to their eye socket in the film they tell Perseus that the only way to defeat the krakan is to slay Medusa.