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.
The Mother of Sighs was a sight-specific photo based installation created by Hickerson with The Skirt at OyG Projects, and made in collaboration with his two moms, who have been working on projects together over the last decade. Despite the fact that their work delights in the monstrous queer, Hickerson’s parents are scared of horror movies. The Mother of Sighs was a way to come together and investigate the history surrounding an early and foundational film, Suspiria (1977).

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.
roberthickerson@gmail.com
brooklyn, new york