Omphalus by Amirita Hepi, Honey Long & Prue Stent
Image: Amrita Hepi, Honey Long and Prue Stent, 'Omphalus', 2021, Single-channel digital video, silent, 04 mins, 20 secs, Courtesy of the artists; Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne and Arc One Gallery, Melbourne.
'Omphalus' is an official exhibition of PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography.
Taking cues from Creed and Kristeva’s writing on ‘the Monstrous-Feminine’, artist’s Honey Long, Prue Stent and Amrita Hepi came together again collaboratively in 2021 to create a new work entitled 'Omphalus'.
'Omphalus' referring to the navel or to the yonic, brings about images of chalices, cauldrons, caves and concavities—it employs the use of a single phallic inflatable and symmetry to distort the body in ways that is at times erotic, uncanny and consistently mutating.
In this video we see a collapsing of boundaries or ambiguities in relation to the depiction of the body. The monster or Monstrous-Feminine in this case is what crosses or threatens to cross the “border”. The border between human and non-human; natural and supernatural; normal and abnormal behaviours and sexual desire; the clean, proper, well formed, and the slimy or deformed.
The femme body has been codified through western culture—leaking, bleeding, oozing—from time immemorial. Across Aristotle’s theories, a deformed ‘monstrosity’ and a ‘misbegotten’; stalks through the Talmud on Lilith’s jackal-feet, flying through the night on her bird wings to sate her demon’s appetite; drags her heavy body through Greek mythology, crowned with curls of snakes. Simultaneously too-much and lacking.
Commissioned by NETS Victoria and supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
Amrita Hepi (b.1989 Townsville of Bundjulung/Ngapuhi territories) is an artist working with dance and choreography through video, the social function of performance spaces, installation and objects. Using hybridity and the extension of choreographic or performative practices, Hepi creates work that considers the body’s relationship to personal histories and the archive. She is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Honey Long and Prue Stent have worked together since 2010. Their multidiscipline practice is a merging of photography, performance, installation and sculpture. Their evocative depictions of naked women’s bodies, draped in bright fabrics and pressed into landscapes, comment on and challenge female stereotypes and representations of women throughout history. Long and Stent are represented by Arc One Gallery, Melbourne.