We can’t wait to open our doors to Monster. A provocative, kinetic installation exploring some of the most challenging issues that face modern Britain, Monster was first exhibited at The Truman Stables in London in December 2020 — and will be coming to Left Bank from 13th - 29th of January. And we’re just so excited for all of you to experience it.
We recently spoke to Giles Walker, the artist behind Monster, about this immersive piece of work, the process of its creation and its impact in 2022.
Hi Giles! What can you tell us about Monster? When did it all begin?
I began working on Monster almost four years ago. It was originally going to be simple; three and four-and-a-half metre mice made out of wood. And then we went into lockdown and it just grew and grew and got bigger and bigger. The concept developed too. The reason that it was called Monster was because it was going to be creatures that have been created by man and have gone rogue and are destroying everything in their path; with themes around business, freelance and biotechnology. And then, because of COVID and Brexit the focus has been more on Britain; and a nation having a nervous breakdown.
Ultimately the piece is built around the relationship between the establishment and the people they exercise control over.
What was the viewers’ reaction when it was first shown?
The reaction in London was amazing. It’s good to have a reaction anyway, whether good or bad, but it was positive. I think it was also due to the fact that for many people, it was the first exhibition they’d been to since lockdown — maybe in over a year. It’s a very moving piece in that sense; and because of the nature of the works, it’s meant to be seen again and again so that you pick up on more elements.
How has the installation — and the meaning people get from it — developed since that first viewing?
What's particularly weird is when I first starting doing the soundtrack, I had the animatronic figures coughing because of it being about a national sickness — a mental one, rather than physical. This was pre-COVID. By the time I finally got to show Monster, it was between lockdown and Tier 4, in this two week period we managed to get to show it.
The fact that was this soundtracked coughing — and people seeing it while wearing masks and socially distancing — made the piece feel even more relevant than when I first began creating it. It seems that the nation has gotten sicker, by all accounts.
Monster will be at Left Bank from 13th - 29th of January. You can book your free ticket to visit here.