Words by Bea Mustocea, Tuesday 22 August 2017
Sharing is caring dear traveller; each week, a member of our knowledgeable team of locals shares their insider knowledge on what’s hot and happening in and around our nests.
Pastel hues. Bright red demons. A bittersweet mixture of satire, anxiety and identity. If any of those sound familiar, then you might be familiar with Polly Nor’s bizarre universe.
Shrouded in ambiguity, the North London artist’s demons are versatile, humorous and the reason behind her meteoric rise to cyber fame. On a simplistic level, dismissed as a representation of those lingering exes that come creeping back into your life in moments of vulnerability. On second thought, a light-hearted approach to all the anxieties of the modern female condition manifested in the most intimate of the spaces, the bedroom, the capsule that holds all these personal alternate universes. In snake-like fashion, her diverse characters shed their ‘skins’, their carefully curated personas, stripping down the performance of the self to its rawest, ugliest, most devilish version. And now these many skins are put on display in East London, very conveniently placed for those staying in either our Hoxton or Shoreditch flats.
The world of Polly Nor’s vivid dreams is stitched together in a space worthy of her aesthetics, with demon arms stretching by the entrance and her human skins blowing in the wind. That pretty much sets the scene for the two-room solo show that follows a timeline from her most iconic prints, to some of her sketches in their incipient stage, appropriately captioned. What seems to be the highlight of the pop-up, however, is probably Nor’s immerse ‘Green Room’, an installation initially set up for this year’s Secret Garden Party. It’s a step in the direction of understanding her characters, of dissecting this dark world of complicated female sexuality in the space where it manifests with most honesty. Hidden human skins are found laying around, thrown in the closet amongst all the glam that goes into fashioning our public identities, to further point out that what Nor’s interested in is the private female experience, examined in tense negotiation with the public persona. The darkness remains balanced out by the fluff, with fidget spinners, furry stilettos, a mismatched collection of books by female authors, going from Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ to Lena Dunham’s ‘Not That Kind of Girl’, act as a further immersion in her character’s psyche, a key into deciphering Polly Nor’s work.
'Cba 2 Pretend No More' by Polly Nor
Her colorful characters ‘shed their skins’ and come to life in the 5-day exhibition at Protein Studios, now in the final moments of its run, and those lucky few fast enough to make it there before 7pm can even catch up with the artist.
‘It’s Called Art Mum, Look It Up’ runs from 18-22 August at Protein Studios, London.