Monika Tichacek

Monika Tichacek

The Shadowers

2 September–8 October 20052 Sep–8 Oct 2005

Monika Tichacek’s Matthew-Barneyesque video The Shadowers became a cause celebre when it was removed to an R-rated backroom on its debut at Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image. It presents a chain of surreal sado-masochistic interactions among a trio of female characters, one played by the artist herself. The costumed violence extends to cannibalism; a face and shoulder are apparently gnawed away; one woman is seen in the act of devouring, like a proud lioness hovering lustily over her prey; mouths are bruised and garnished with thorns; the artist sews her thighs together using a needle and thread, creating a cat’s cradle. Tichacek sets her dark-side psychodrama in nature, as if to suggest her characters’ perversities are somehow pre-civil. It’s hard to unpick The Shadowers. While packed with extreme acts, their motivation seems uncertain. Does the piece simply rehearse narcissistic sado-masochistic pleasures or reach toward some greater allegory? Your call.

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.