Apollonian and Dionysian are the terms used by Nietzsche in his book The Birth of Tragedy. He states that while Apollo represented rational thought and order, Dionysus symbolised chaos and madness. For Nietzsche, these were the main dichotomous forces in art, but what is the influence of this dichotomy in contemporary artistic practice?
Known for combining painting, performance, poetry, and video in their artistic practice, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley identify their written work – filled with word games and double meanings – as Dionysian. By dedicating a trilogy of videos to the theme of the Minotaur, the artists take this Dionysian influence beyond language or form and use Dionysus, Ariadne, and Daedalus as the key characters in a story of drunkenness, sexual deviancy, and betrayal refreshed with a grotesquely comic feminist twist. In this conversation, moderated by the Professor at Faculdade de Belas Artes and art historian Maria José Goulão, the artists will discuss their particular inspirations – such as Minoan pottery, the phenomenon of spolia (the re-purposing of ancient architectural and sculptural elements) and the literary form of the cento (a mosaic verse form created from extracts from other authors’ poems).