The Kingpins

The Kingpins, Heironymus Posh (video still), 2006

The Kingpins, Heironymus Posh (video still), 2006

The Kingpins play with the gaps in and between an infinite series of transgressive drag acts. Coming out of Sydney’s drag scene, the female foursome utilise an aesthetics of remixing, with elements taken from mainstream media, pop culture and art history, to comment on issues of gender, sex, public space, consumerism and corporate branding.

Their performances play with music, video and costume, and are presented as public interventions, sometimes in the form of ‘surprise’ actions, as well as gallery installations with posters, projections and soundtracks. Humorous, spectacular, grotesque and colourful, their work engages the audience in a subversive politics of pleasure. Cultural jamming as a tactic against our media-saturated social realm is evident in the Kingpins’ practice.

Soap was the starting point for the Kingpins’ installation for International 06, which married the underworld visions of Hieronymus Bosch with the aspirational aesthetics of Saturday night revellers. Hieronymus Posh (2006) delves beneath the manicured lawns and mock Tudor architecture of Port Sunlight to explore the dark underside of Utopian fagades.

William Hesketh Lever, founder of Port Sunlight, named the village after his chief export, Sunlight Soap, and promised, in its launch slogan (‘Sharing of prosperity makes life easier, better, brighter and higher for all’), cleanliness and purity for its inhabitants. But soap depends for its existence on dirt and grime, a symbiotic encounter underpinning the art collection housed at the heart of Lever’s model village. White marble sculptures show mythical monsters devouring idealised female nudes, while paintings include Holman Hunt’s The Scapegoat, embodying for the Kingpins ‘the violent dirty work enacted in an effort to cleanse’.

For the Kingpins these tensions found a counterpoint in Liverpool’s contemporary club scene, in which an early evening veneer of Lycra, fake tan and lipstick soon erupts into hedonistic abandon. Hieronymus Posh (2006) transported us into a fantasy environment in which soap mixed with nature runs riot, and filmic syntheses of the monstrous and feminine enacted a precarious balance between Utopia and dystopia, control and abandon.

The Kingpins at Liverpool Biennial 2006

Heironymus Posh, 2006

Multimedia installation with projectors
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2006
Exhibited in Public realm

Supported by

Northwest Development Agency 
Australian Government through the Australia Arts Council