Maria Metsalu: Mademoiselle x. 29.07.2019, Mumok Hofstallung, ImPulsTanz, Vienna

I grew up in Australia – a continent that lends itself to horror; a place at the end of the earth, with a dark colonial history, wide open expanses, extremes of heat, typhoons and aloneness, where the prehistoric mixes with the potential for myth, limits, violence, beauty and gore. I’m thinking of being in dank cinemas on the north coast watching Hostel, Razorback, The Babadook and Their crime was against nature — I’m 16 and watching Wolf Creek a film referring to Ivan Milat, the notorious Australian serial killer, and there is this part in which the character begins to explain to his victim that she will be a « head on a stick ». I think of this as I watch Maria Metsalu extract smoke from a staged corpse into her mouth – I’m taken to a space full of dread and cars and bodies and hopelessness. Horror as a genre becomes so messy with desire, the pantomime of grotesque, the longing to see explored the edge or the limit of the dead, the ritual, the still just alive, and if we’re lucky, the undead walking. To feel the thrill of a scare, to push it to the point of wanting the collapse. Watching Maria Metsalu’s Mademoiselle x I’m reminded of this and I wonder who do we hunt and want to shift the blame to, how do we delight in the image of it but are also simultaneously repelled.

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