This Delicate Monster

color, sound, 3-channel, 10:13, 2004/07

This Delicate Monster (2004/07) is a multimedia pop fable inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s 19th century collection of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal. Handelman transposes the Les Fleurs du Mal into a pop landscape, creating a haunting and hallucinatory fragmented narrative that lies somewhere between a horror film and a fashion shoot gone terribly wrong. The project consists of several videos works, photographs, and a live site-specific performance where performers sit high on the walls of the gallery space taunting and laughing at the crowd. The exhibit becomes a sympathetic symphony of gasps, shrieks and repetitive actions, implicating the viewer into a mediated world of attraction and repulsion. Collaborating with couture fetish designer Garo Sparo, Italian noise band Larsen, and a cast of performers, the multiscreen narrative is constructed of gestures and sounds that breathe life into Baudelaire’s text such as, “No abyss compares with your bed” and “To know nothing, to teach nothing, to feel nothing, to sleep and still to sleep, this is my only wish. A base and loathsome wish, but sincere.”

“Handelman achieved a personal and emotional resonance that approached mythic complexity in its resistance of narrative resolution.”
-Stephen Maine, Artnet Magazine



Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Michelle Handelman; Video Performers: Tori Sparks, Jessye McDowell, Quin Charity, Wren Kistler, Ashley Smith, Michelle Handelman; Live Performers: Robert Appleton, Quin Charity, Lin Gathright, Jessye Mcdowell, Tori Sparks; Costumes: Garo Sparo; Music: Larsen; Additional Sounds: Lustmord and Michelle Handelman; Sound Design: Michelle Handelman; Production Design: Garry Hayes; Still Photography: Michelle Handelman and Quin Charity; Production assistants: Benjamin Godsill, Rah-nee Kelly, Jessica Liedtke; Special thanks :Garo Sparo, Garo Sparo Designs; John Mcdevitt, Mcdevitt Metals; Tom Hruby Furniture Design and Woodworking; Ken Troiano at Modernage Photographic Services; Vincent Baker, Garry Hayes, Becky Hubbert.