Quilla's Constant Catch - Up!


A La Bouche Zine exclusive


QUILLA CONSTANCE SOLO EXHIBITION 'PUKIJAM' - MARCH 26TH UNTIL MAY 9TH Curated by Maria M. Kheirkhah, 198 CONTEMPORARY ARTS AND LEARNING | Funded by Arts Council England, UAL, TrAIN, Diversity Art Forum, South London Art Map, Lambeth Council

6pm - the witching hour, March 26th 2015 Brixton and I've blagged my way into the PUKIJAM private view. I clock various illuminati from the world of haute couture ...wasn't that wotsisname, you know... from ADFswigging house red with Hew Locke, Keith Piper, Mo Throp and Ope Lori????!!!...I sample a few carafes of love and by 6:40pm my peepers are scanning the space. Here's what I clocked....

What's this in the guest book? Ian McCulloch? some bigwig from The National Portrait Gallery? I delve deeper and read the entries: ".great show......wicked...provocative....brilliant...***** star....come round....waddagaddagadda!....v.exciting...bizarre but beautiful and witty....incredibly funny as well as confronting stereotypes and gender/race compromises....quirky and unnerving at the same time....very sharp....amazing provocative work...hilarious, bold,deep provocative! made a lasting impression...." whatever this is, it's made an unbelievable impact on these folk.


I wanna know more. I wanna know what's going on, Who's Quilla Constance? What's this all about? Where's my pint? Why am I here? Who am I anyway?....Introducing your QC Bouche reviewer, your guest with the quest, the being who's been seeing the latest show to rock the website at 198...it's me, Tobin Forbes-Smythe aka Mr Bangladeshi c/o grey hat hackers SE11. Hello admin! LOL

Well, these folk had certainly made their presence known ...but where was Quilla Constance, the self-styled 'QC'??? ...for a good 45 mins I couldn't find her - but then a slight twitch of movement from the front gallery wall revealed the camouflaged protagonist twixt two new canvasses entitled 'Split Diptych' 2015. Half in one, half in the other QC brought a third, fleshy, vibrant dimension to the exotic, dressed, acrylic, charcoal and sequined abstractions - beautiful and seductive. I'm in the space, drawn into the work. I look around....

Swiveling 180 degrees like an intoxicated dervish on absynth, I eye the truly amazing QC-Richardson photo portrait of a decidedly attitudinous QC glaring out from her trapeze. I feel accused, clearly there's more to this show than meets the eye methinks so I dig deeper still..... Richardson's here too, snaps the moment and sets about documenting the event. I cover my face just in time.

A quarter turn later and there's blinking and hiss from an old school CRT and VHS player perched on an Argos coffee table. I take the solo viewing seat feeling more than a little exposed and watch 'Happy Christmas Mom & Dad' - a piece that sees QC seemingly strip off for her parents on the mother of all Christmas days to the refrain of Brenda Lee's 'Rockin Around the Christmas Tree'. Someone looks over my shoulder to take a peek and I feel uncomfortable, embarrassed... depraved even and then I realise that this is a set-up, choreographed by QC and I've been had -or have I? A brummy brogue interrupts the moment ["...awlroit, ows yaow doin'?..."] and the people on screen are there in the flesh next to me.... mum and dad blocking the doorway through to the gallery spaces beyond. WTF? I feel trapped, scrutinised within a Freudian nightmare. I decide to remain in the front room of 198 and take stock. Another shot of house red should do it. I turn round again...


From the top corner hangs a sculptural piece: 'Untitled' 2015 - a weird, yet exotic and scatty costume invoking pathos and fear...what went on in that? It haunts the space....

At 7:15pm, a drink assisted shimmy sees me lurch past 'Mom & Dad' - I now wonder whether it's an amusing dig in the ribs-style tilt at Abromovic???? especially remembering QC's 'Art Darling' (Zabludowicz Collection 2001), .... [is that art with a capital 'F' ? -ed.] ...this thought takes me finally to the rear gallery. To my right, VJAZZLED is screened - a satire which sees QC Burberry clad, big-eared, implanted, explanted and flashy-crotched lampooning the Essex lady garden beautification trend of Vajazzling. What a hoot - and a welcome respite from the troubling M&D TV.

Back further in the blackness of the back gallery, I'm confronted by a big screen projection of the eponymous 'PUKIJAM'. Throughout the piece, QC hectors the viewer via a mutant scat, throbbing/dismembered soundtrack and visual montage in which she plays a mischevious golliwog-cum-carnivale brésilienne a la punke all topped off with a soupçon of Ronald McDonald sporting extra lipstick over a super rictus grin. Dead funny. I watch as she licks greasy, salt encrusted fried chicken from battered boxes which bear the monicker 'Just The Way You Like It' mmmm......glugs Red Stripe whilst staggering and painting [or is that Pollocking? - ed.] her loud and lurid canvases. This all takes place in a studio littered with broken paint brushes, a machete, pineapples, drug bags, half empty and crusty paint pots, cream slices, sawn-off shot guns, more fried chicken....and more chicken innit bruv...not forgetting the violent, awkward, raw montage of black female celebrities in blonge wigs and bleached boat races, twinned with depressingly in-yer-face prints of, er, 'empowered' Miss England and Miss World contestants. Tasty...very bad tasty indeed! Apparently the audio track itself, a zombie dance/march/cake walk is due for release this summer on Quillatunes. Once heard, never forgotten...you'll be waddagaddagaddaring into the early hours.


As I leave the gallery stumbling toward the nearest pub for comfort, I notice the 198 window display - an English tea set, the golliwog doll outfit, a large hand-made twerkatronic lycra 'ghetto booty', more paint pots, two rotting pineapples and a large scale photo of QC storming Hackney Wicked in 2011 (taken by Andrew Crowe). I smile, knowing that we've not heard the last of QC and her crew. Recommended.

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