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Serena Korda at Camden Arts Centre

Serena Korda: Aping the Beast

Exhibition preview

THIS MARCH, London-based British artist Serena Korda realises an ambitious project, Aping the Beast, a theatrical rendering of animal symbolism and folklore.

Showing in Gallery 3 at Camden Arts Centre and consisting of two new films, a large sculptural installation and a series of performances, the project expresses ideas of the spirit, soul and fears of the unknown which preoccupy people and are confronted through imitation, spectacle, ritual and humour.

Serena Korda: Aping the Beast runs at Camden Arts Centre from March 8 until May 5, 2013.

The central spectacle is a four-metre tall monster-puppet which dramatically fills the gallery. This menacing beast produced by Korda in latex is reminiscent of early B movies such as Godzilla or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, rather than replicating the realism of recent cinema.

Her new films showing in the exhibition The Prognosticator and The Transmitters also star symbolic mystical creatures – a feline psychic who reveals its fortune telling capacities and a bristling tarantula which features alongside dancers and musicians taking part in a cult like ritual in a nondescript village hall.

Throughout the exhibition, Korda’s giant monster will star in a number of performances: The Awakening a ritual involving 25 local school children dressed as ‘boggarts’ – wizened old men from Lancashire folklore, believed to wield destructive powers; Fertility Orbit of the Boob Meteorite, a romantic duet with a female performer costumed in fake fossilised breasts; and lastly as the finale of a procession from Camden Arts Centre through Hampstead to Whitestone Pond.

Throughout Aping the Beast, Korda demonstrates her interest in how the fears, dreads or other forms of secular belief and superstition are channelled through the images of popular culture. The potency of the work lies in the power exerted over us by hand made things and people’s belief in invisible or super-human powers.

Aping the Beast is co-commissioned by an Artsadmin Jerwood Commission, Camden Arts Centre, London and Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool. The exhibition will tour to Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool (May 25 to August 3, 2013) and will premiere a new film produced in the circus at the bottom of Blackpool Tower. This film will be shown at Camden Arts Centre during the summer.

Performances are choreographed by Rosie Heafford and Serena Korda. Music is composed and performed by Grumbling fur (Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan) and also features a new composition by Daniel O’Sullivan sung by a male voice choir.


The Awakening – Wednesday, March 27 at Camden Arts Centre (evening 7 – 7.30pm). Lasting approximately 20 minutes.

Fertility Orbit of the Boob Meteorite – Wednesday, April 17 at Camden Arts Centre (evening 7 – 7.30pm).

Aping the Beast – Saturday, May 4 (time TBC) – A procession to Whitestone Pond at the brow of Hampstead Heath, where the monster will take part in a miniature re-enactment of the Battle of the River Plate.

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Sunday: 10am-6pm, Wednesdays late: 10am–9pm, closed Mondays.

Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7472 5500