homage to mike kelley patron saint of filth_smKEEP IT DIRTY, vol. a., “Filth” (2016)


Jenny Keane



Ingeminated Battology is a double channel video installation.  The close up of the mouth opens and closes, sucks, licks, and attempts to create words, eventually showing a black tongue, mouth and partially black teeth, alluding to melancholia.  The tongue is a liminal object—inside and outside, soft and hard.  It deals with food, language and sexuality.  In this work, I am interested in the subversion of all three.

The mouth connects to the grotesque body alluding to the entrance of the vagina; this oral cavity evokes the frightening maternal mouth threatening to engulf subjectivity, bordering on the “abyss of the female organ from which all life comes forth,” to quote Lacan.  The mouth moves but it cannot speak or be heard, and it returns the female body from its repression in the symbolic, to the chora of indifferentiation.  The video, and its immersive installation, harks a return to the state of the pre-Symbolic, and becomes both threatening and thrilling.

Installed in a small black room, generally no larger than 5m x 5m, there is a very close proximity to the images on the large screens.  The floor of the room is covered in a thick and rich red carpet that creates a tactile feeling underfoot and echoes the red lips in the video—this connection between image and space creates an immersive environment that positions the audience almost within the mouth of/in the video.


Jenny Keane is an artist, researcher and lecturer currently based in Plymouth, UK.  Her art work deals with sexuality and representations of horror, from a “monstrous feminine” perspective.  She has worked with several notions of “filth,” whether sexual subversion, disgust and repulsion, or cleanliness and purification.  Theoretical underpinnings of her practice explore theories of Otherness, such as Freud’s uncanny, Mary Douglas’s purity and danger, Julia Kristeva’s abjection, Bakhtin’s grotesque, and more recently Ettinger’s ideas of the matrixial.







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