Horror often speaks to the collective anxieties and fears of our times, from sexual liberation to new technologies, racial tension to gender subversion. This fear proliferates across shared cultural imaginaries to lay bare our innermost desires, tendencies for self-destruction and the conflicting impulses to confront and exorcise our darkest fantasies. Horror provides a language with which to be scared and to respond to challenges that might be beyond our control.
From the other side brings together nineteen Australian and international artists, integrating historical and contemporary works, alongside key new commissions that draw upon horror’s capacity to transgress and destabilise forms of power and subjugation. The exhibition summons the impulse for rage and revenge, while embracing feelings of vulnerability and unease. Rather than speculating on the field of horror as a whole, the exhibition embeds and casts a lens upon feminist, queer and non-binary subjectivities to consider the transgressive pleasures and liberations of horror, as makers, masters and consumers of the genre.
Centring the fear of the monstrous-feminine, the exhibition raises questions about the often-harmful representation of female monsters — the witch, the hag, the monstrous mother, the shapeshifter, the possessed woman — and how she has been reclaimed by female storytellers in recent years. The monstrous-feminine resists the prototypical role of women in horror, as either victims or final girls; instead she performs the dual roles of temptress and castrator — alluring yet repulsive, contaminating yet pure.
The exhibition crosses the artificial parameters of horror in the everyday, as something that exists as part of society but also from outside of it. Culminating in a potent synthesis of dread, camp, humour and catharsis, From the other side challenges the traditional narratives and assumed boundaries of the body, gender, the self and the ‘other’.
Curators: Elyse Goldfinch and Jessica Clark