Horror has always been a queer safe haven. Outside of the more salacious aspects, queer folk are often drawn to the genre because of the reconfiguration of a heteronormative narrative that dominates societal, and especially American, ideals. From a production standpoint, it’s always been easier to sneak queer storylines into major blockbusters if the queer individual was also a monster. Horror is a genre that prioritizes the lives of monsters, for while they may be vanquished when the credits roll, it is the monsters we remember more than their adversaries.
Upon its release, Suspiria jettisoned Argento into international stardom, quickly amassing a cult following and becoming the work for which Argento is most known for. It’s story vastly differed from the previous films Argento made, focusing on a coven of witches masquerading as a dance school. To this day, Suspiria is consistently ranked as one of the best horror films of all time. And while Suspiria and Dario Argento have become practically synonymous, the film and its sequel was written primarily by his wife Daria Nicolodi.
How do you own your inner demons? Through play, prosthetics, and the harsh artificial lighting evocative of late 70’s Italian horror, The Mother of Sighs constructs a narrative around what it means to have your demons escape you, and become something deeply unfamiliar. Through the installation of this body of work, and an embrace of horror tropes, The Skirt is transformed into a cavernous hallway where something is lurking around the corner.