Ophelia’s Last Supper – exploring embodiment in film and performance

Ophelia’s Last Supper – exploring embodiment in film & performance

Fri, 22 February 2019, 18:30 – 21:30, Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London, EC1V 1NQ

An evening exploring themes of female embodiment, the effects of sensual and sensory immersion, while testing the loose boundaries between inside and outside, through film and performance. Curated by Tereza Stehlikova and featuring Amy Neilson Smith, William Summers, Tereza Kamenicka and Nuala Clooney.

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A PREMIERE of a short film Ophelia’s Last Supper, 2018 by Tereza Stehlikova

“The film inspired by Millais famous painting and explores a reoccurring theme in my work: transformation of the act of eating into a kind of internal journey, where the fluid boundaries between our interior and exterior worlds, which our senses mediate between, become dissolved. Another source of inspiration is the Futurist Cookbook by FT Marinetti. Ever since reading it I became intrigued by the potential of using food and ingestion as a medium of subversion and play, fuelled by imagination. In this film Ophelia slowly merges with the element of water, ingesting the landscape that will later ingest her. The act of beautification, by definition surface is, through ingestion, internalised, while the interior becomes exposed.” Tereza Stehlikova

watch a trailer:

Performance by actress Tereza Kamenicka, building on the themes explored in Ophelia’s Last Supper through a live, interactive performance.

Screening of Sweet Muscle Flexing, 2018 short film by Tereza Stehlikova, from an ongoing collaboration with performer Tereza Kamenicka and artist Nuala Clooney.

Performance by artist Nuala Clooney: An edible interaction seeking to playfully examine the sensual and fluid boundaries between object, food and body, through engaging with all the senses. During the evening the audience will come across a table setting. A table consisting of edible flesh and artefacts. The audience will be invited to indulge their own senses and to be seduced themselves by the promise of sweet mouthfuls of pleasure. This sensuous interchange will open up a dialogue about ingestion and how our mouths turn transient consumables into flesh, the flesh of our own bodies, internalising an aspect of the ‘other’ and connecting the external world with the internal landscape of the body. A fluid landscape.

Photo featuring spoon by Nuala Clooney

Performance by artist Amy Neilson Smith

“The poem inspired by Millais famous painting explores a recurring theme in my work, that of water; its ability to both submerge us and let us flow free. What in this world causes women to drown and what keeps us afloat? Are our internal parts left to rot if they don’t nurture “the swelling of a verdant womb” with “little eyelashes sprouting, little bellies to be watered”? The subversion of lust lending a destructive hand is ever present here, it ripples under the landscape’s surface, turns loose its damp fodder – Ophelia as human loam. The fluid boundaries between sexual repression and sexual expression, ebb and flow.Psychedelic drugs tamper with “lovesick Prof’s”, their “fizzling fingers pushing slowly” into “her transparent rose” canvas; the prowess of male appetite leaves little morsels of “the womanly broken” across a drowning landscape of female histrionics. The poem’s starkly scientific tone prods Ophelia’s mute body to life, and the voice of her “broken syntax” is let lose as ‘live’ classical lutes and dusty Crumhorns woo her songs to life in this sensorial visitation, where for just a moment, the godly Ophelia learns to swim.”

Classical music composed and improvised by William Summers, ‘Millais’ Ophelia’ poem, written and performed by Amy Neilson Smith.


Nuala Clooney is a cross-disciplinary artist who creates casts of her own body which are used to present and serve food, inviting the audience therefore to essentially eat and lick her own body initiating an experience which can be both sensual and alarming. Alongside her studio practice, Nuala works in collaboration with other artists to produce immersive experiences that explore sensory perception and bodily experience.

Amy Neilson Smith is a Multidiscplinary Artist, Creative Director and ‘Sensory Poetry Educator’ for A Blind Bit of Difference (Arts Council) – creating ‘live’ poetry for the visually impaired, using synaesthetic taste, smell and movement to experience a metaphorical perception of colour. Amy’s ‘Tasting Colour Collective’ debuted ‘As if a love affair with colour was a good idea!’ at Richmix (Open Senses, 18), in which a moving, surround-sound, 3D, human poem came to life, whilst audience were fed to get their own colourful poetics tripping off the tongue. Performances: Royal Academy (BitterSuite), Royal Festival Hall (Poetry Library) and playing an electronic, operatic, ballet dancing Ophelia in The Hamletmachine by Heiner Muller.

William Summers toured with the Psychedelic Medieval rock band Circulus, performing at The British Library for the 500th Anniversary of Henry VIII’s Accession and he collaborates with Richard Wilson, Professor in Shakespeare’s Studies (Kingston University). Amy and William played in concert in ‘The Lovekyn Consort’ (Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, Hampton) performing Elizabethan sonnets and Amy’s modern-classical responses for Shakespeare’s 400th birthday.

Tereza Stehlikova is an artist from Prague, now based in London. She is a senior lecturer at University of Westminster as well a research co-ordinator and PhD supervisor at the Royal College of Art. She works in moving image and performance, with a strong focus on sensory perception and the role of the body in informing our aesthetic experience. In 2009 she founded Sensory Sites (an informal network of artists interested in exploration of our sensory engagement with the world). http://terezast.com/

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