New York artist Aïda Ruilova has long been concerned with the intersection of the image (both static and moving) and the body. In particular, she has drawn inspiration from the 1960s and 70s erotic horror subgenre of filmmakin g and it’s stylized entanglements of lust and death. In an expansion of these aesthetic and formal concerns, The Pink Palace brings together a diversity of approaches including a massive, 25-foot wide projection of a digitally transferred Super-16mm film, a large-scale inflatable, and a group of cut-paper collages.
Known for her widely exhibited short-form video works driven by visceral footage and abrasive, rhythmic sound design, Ruilova refines her process here while maintaining the erotic punch. For Immoral Tales the artist has restaged and reshot a short sequence from the 1970s film of the same name. It’s a tight shot, depicting a disembodied forefinger repeatedly caressing and penetrating a woman’s mouth, along with the accompanying sexualized noises that permeate the galleries and set the mood for the exhibition as a whole.
Rocky is Ruilova’s first foray into large-scale inflatable sculpture, and takes the form of an enormous black heart composed from a pair of conjoined boxing gloves. Inspired by the graphics of the original poster for Sylvester Stallone’s debut, the piece embodies a heavy-breathing collusion of love and violence that occupies the core of so much of the artist’s work.
Also based on film posters from this era are a series of intricately cut collages backed with black velvet. Elaborate floral motifs have been incised into the original posters creating lush voids that are contrasted with the printed surface and obliterate the printed texts and film titles. These works redirect the power of exploitation, transferring its prurience into humor without sacrificing seduction.