Priscilla Monge

Priscilla Monge, Untitled, 2006

Priscilla Monge, Untitled, 2006

Priscilla Monge's (b. 1968 San José, Costa Rica) work has been called ‘a polysemy of the ambiguous’. Duplicity and concealed violence are indeed key components of Monge’s poetics. Ugliness hides behind refined restraint; violence and sweetness cohabit. Human teeth are cast inside lollipops; boxing masks cover cylinder music boxes; curses and bloodcurdling death sentences are beautifully embroidered on cloth; soccer balls are made of black leather and sanitary towels. What makes the work particularly frightening is that everything looks right, peaceful, in its place. These works connote the violence existing in daily life, and the often imperceptible junctures between aggression, pleasure, love and tenderness.

But the works can also have an opposite effect, softening the terrifying through aesthetic treatment, and, in a further twist, making the aesthetic terrifying. Through apparent presentational neutrality, the original double meaning becomes a plurality of meanings. Humour, and even cynicism, are important tools for the artist. Monge also works with a more direct feminist approach, as in her pieces with sanitary towels and her videos. One of these enacts a lesson in applying cosmetics that ends with the male instructor proudly exhibiting the woman's monstrous black eye. A game of displacements and paradoxical sweet subversions runs throughout Monge’s work, providing it with a far-reaching critical edge.

Priscilla Monge at Liverpool Biennial 2006

Untitled, 2006
Temporary Landscape
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2006

Supported by

Northwest Regional Development Agency 
The Henry Moore Foundation 
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation 
Visiting Arts
Mersey Tunnels