A minotaur, a 19th-century French prostitute. These are just a few of the characters in the work of Mary Reid Kelley (°1979, Greenville, South Carolina) and her partner Patrick Kelley. She plays these historical figures in her videos, and uses costumes, masks and poetic wordplay to create a black and white parallel world. She observes gender, desire and mortality, and connects classical literature with contemporary pop culture.
Both erudite and playful, the four black-and-white films are witty collages mixing artistic approaches and traditions Tom Peeters, Flanders Today
For her first Belgian solo exhibition, Kelley is presenting The Syphilis of Sisyphus (2011), as well as her video trilogy about the myth of the minotaur (Priapus Agonistes (2013), Swinburne’s Pasiphae (2014) and The Thong of Dionysus(2015)). During an extended period in Rome, Kelley became intrigued by the story of the Minotaur. Half man, half bull, this legend symbolizes a fierce and tragic brutality. Kelley has made the minotaur a female monster. Peppered with pop culture and references to contemporary music stars, she gives this ancient legend a new face in her video trilogy. In addition, she is presenting a mural, photos, works on paper, and several props from her films.
This exhibition at M coincides with a complementary show at Kunsthalle Bremen presenting her four earliest videos on the First World War. Mary Reid Kelley’s first solo exhibitions in Europe thus for the first time give a complete survey of her video work.
At the end of September, Mary Reid Kelley was awarded the prestigious American 'MacArthur Fellowship 2016'. The award was given not only in recognition of her exceptional creativity, but also to encourage the further development of her career.
Collaboration with Kunsthalle Bremen
Curator: Valerie Verhack
Mary Reid Kelley (1979, USA) lives and works in Olivebridge, New York. She recently exhibited at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015), Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Vienna (2014) and Boston Institute for Contemporary
Art (2013). Earlier this year she won the MacArthur Fellowship 2016 as well as the Baloise Art Prize for her latest film This is Offal. Her work is represented by Fredericks & Freiser Gallery in New York, Pilar Corrias in London, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Arratia Beer in Berlin. Running parallel to the exhibition in M Leuven is A Marquee Piece of Sod. The WWI films of Mary Reid Kelley at Kunsthalle Bremen (until 19.02.17). The exhibitions compliment one another and together they present Mary Reid Kelley’s video oeuvre in its entirety for the first time in Europe.