© Penny Slinger / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Penny Slinger © Penny Slinger / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Art
  • Richard Saltoun, Mayfair
  • Recommended


Penny Slinger: ‘Exorcism: Inside Out’

4 out of 5 stars
Eddy Frankel

Time Out says

Sex, gore and sacrilege; Penny Slinger knows how to tell a surreal story. The LA-based, London-born artist has been at the forefront of feminist art since the 1970s, and this gothically atmospheric exhibition pushes her ideas deeper into the weird, repressed psyche of society than ever before.

It’s based on a book of collages that was meant to come out in the ’70s, but was withheld after Slinger’s previous book, ‘Mountain Ecstasy’, was seized and burned by British customs for being deemed pornographic. The show is full of clever black and white collages and double exposures. A stately home fuses with a naked female body, its grand door becoming her genitals. Vines outside the building become rotting, eviscerated corpses, tree limbs become hands bound with ropes. Rituals take place; women are trussed up and surrounded by engorged men, a nun touches herself in a loft, groups of naked women embrace. Then it gets more surreal; scorpions emerge, figures wear bird heads, dolls walk through the halls of the house.

It’s intended as a pictorial romance, a story of love told through collage. A new film in the back room expresses these ideas best, but the narrative is pretty hard to grasp in exhibition form.

Instead, this feels like a traumatic psychedelic trip through English values, a Hammer Horror-esque journey into sexual repression and gender oppression in middle-England, a plea for freedom in a stuffy, unjust society. The stately home is a haunted, sickly stand-in for the nation itself, and Slinger is its exorcist.


Richard Saltoun
41 Dover St
Tube: Great Portland St

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