Helen Anna Flanagan: GOZBA

Exhibition Opening: December 1, 2023, at 18:30 Exhibition Dates: December 1 – December 18, 2023

Gallery Hours > Tue-Fri: 14:00 – 20:00 / Sat: 10:00 – 15:00

In the cult film ‘La Grande Bouffe’ (dir: Marco Ferreri, 1973), a group of bourgeois individuals retreats to a luxurious villa with the mission to collectively end their lives through overeating. Adapting Ferreri’s satirical approach to consumerism and decadence to a contemporary context, and drawing on his lavish depictions of abundance, artist Helen Anna Flannagan will host a stylized, equally striking (and not at all morbid!) — banquet at the Miroslav Kraljević Gallery.

till from the movie ‘Geste tvari

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the work ‘Geste tvari’ (2020), an absurd cinematic meditation on excessive consumption. However, unlike Ferreri’s well-to-do gourmands, Flanagan’s characters are eccentric melancholics — an overwhelmed waitress, an amateur gastronomic critic, a poetic gourmand, and a cunning witch — whom we encounter late at night in a dismal fast-food restaurant serving the ‘most anonymous, most mushy, and greasiest dishes on the menu’. Expressive shots of their chewing, swallowing, slurping, and gulping are accompanied by sound bites highlighting contradictions associated with contemporary food culture. These range from overeating and extreme diets to the elitist world of fine dining and populist concepts like ‘eat as much as you can’, exposing the disparity between expected servility and predominantly poor working conditions in the hospitality industry.

till from the movie ‘Geste tvari

The thematic contradictions from the cinematic screen extend into the gallery space — it serves as both a luxurious dining room adorned with a colossal edible cake sculpture displayed on an aestheticized replica of Ferreri’s iconic dining table, and a neighborhood kebab shop offering exclusively garishly pink spit-sculptures of kebabs. The kebab here functions as both an embodiment of the popular phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and a metaphor for accumulation, excessiveness, and unnecessary growth characteristic of capitalism.

Absurd and visceral, Helen Anne Flanagan’s ‘Feast’ prompts us to contextualize the individual limits of the body and capacities for pleasure, and to reconsider production and consumption necessary for a dignified life within the bounds of sustainability.

till from the movie ‘Geste tvari

Helen Anna Flanagan, born in Birmingham, UK, is an artist working in the fields of video, performance, and installation. Her work explores social structures and the political undercurrents of everyday life, focusing on affect, labor, and the body. Her solo exhibitions have been held at institutions and galleries such as CENTRALE | lab, IKOB Museum of Contemporary Art, Atelier Arthur Rogiers, Openspace, V2_ Lab for Unstable Media, and bb15, among others. Her works have been featured in group exhibitions at venues including Museum M, Focal Point Gallery, WIELS Centre for Contemporary Art, Aspex Gallery, Kunsthal Gent, Netwerk Aalst, IMAI – inter media art institute, M HKA, CAMPO Victoria, MOMA Odessa, and more. Her films have been screened at numerous festivals worldwide, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam (NL), Aesthetica Film Festival (UK), Sharjah Film Platform (AE), Lo Schermo Dell’arte Film Festival (IT), Proyector Plataforma de Videoarte (SP), Go Short International Film Festival (NL), November Film Festival (UK), and others. She has received multiple awards, including the IKOB Feminist Art Prize (2019), VISIO Young Talent Acquisition Prize (2020), Art Contest Brussels (2021), among others.

Exhibition Curator: Barbara Gregov Organization: Maja Pavlinić // GMK Technical Support: Marin Kovačević, Jasna Givens Design: Josip Knežević

Project Supported by: Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, City Office for Culture of the City of Zagreb, Mondriaan Funds