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ONE NIGHT STAND WITH JAMES FRANCO AT THE PSYCHO NACIREMA MOTEL

Review of James Franco’s solo exhibition Psycho Nacirema at Pace Gallery, London or how we didn’t find out about his Russian ancestry

I checked into James Franco’s Bates motel last night.

In the beginning it was all going well. I (half) crashed the opening night of James Franco’s first solo exhibition in London, Psycho Nacirema, his take on Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. But then I missed the victim (James Franco) himself, by probably seconds. Although knowing myself, there is a probable chance that I have not noticed him as I entered this motel installation – yes even if the man in question was James Franco, because for some reason, I don’t recognize famous people, whoever they are.

James, tough, definitely was not subtle with his interpretation of the Psycho motel environment, which even if humorously gross, was all a bit too much for me. But I know you have to scream out loud if you want to touch on certain subject matters. To read more on this, check out James’ own article ‘American Psycho: Ten Years later/Twenty Years later’.

I also discovered that the atmosphere he created as a comment on the aftermath of the decadence, hedonism and self-centeredness of the ‘material world’ we have been living intensely since 1980s ( probably 1920s America) had strange effect on some people last night.  For example, a member of gallery staff  took things to a literal level turning into a Psycho Bitch,  determined to create ugly scenes of biting someone’s head off as they attempted to enter the premises and terrorizing press at the door, denying access to some.

The Help - action by artist Tasleem Mulhall, photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

The Help – action by artist Tasleem Mulhall, photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

I myself should not complain, as I managed to get in with no problems, although I was invited to the earlier afternoon press view only, with ‘artist not present’, which sounded rather like a turn off.

Me Through the Looking-Glass and What I Found There                             photo by Tasleem Mulhall

Me Through the Looking-Glass and What I Found There, photo by Tasleem Mulhall

I also met artist Tasleem Mulhall who asked me to take some photos of her playing and interacting with James’ installation, so we created some scenes and photos.

Tasleem Mulhall at the scene of the crime, photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

Tasleem Mulhall at the scene of the crime, photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

Curiosity Killed The Cat - Tasleem Mulhall photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

Curiosity Killed The Cat – Tasleem Mulhall photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

When you are at this motel, don’t miss the mesmerizing room with a bed and projections on all four walls of scenes that remind me of Delicatessen movie, as it is the best part of this exhibition.

The Bed - Tasleem Mulhall, photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

The Bed – Tasleem Mulhall, photo by Viktoria Knoblauh

And be aware if taking a shower.

You‘ve been warned.

( * James Franco’s grandmother is Russian and I was planning to ask him about his film project with Serbian artist Marina Abramovic  had he not left the crime scene too soon last night. Next time.)

About the author

Viktoria Knoblauh

Viktoria Knoblauh is a Hungarian-Croatian actress, singer and performance artist who lives in London but is originally from Vojvodina(Serbia), ex-Yugoslavia. In order to creatively channel her ever increasing information hoarding tendencies, she engages herself in writing articles about art, culture and fashion. Viktoria holds a degree in English from Joszef Attila University (Szeged , Hungary) as well as European Contemporary Theatre Arts and Performance from Rose Bruford Drama School , London. She also studied visual theatre and puppetry at Institute Del Theatro, Barcelona and at Lecoq physical theatre method based London International School of Performing Arts .In the past she worked in a wide range of different jobs including 5 years of interpreting in psychotherapy for rehabilitation of torture victims from war (UNHCR and Cordelia Foundation).

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