Killer Queen

01 December 2001–13 January 2002

How do artists deal with a culture that is globally defined by the powers of commerce? 

With their new film Killer Queen, L.A. Raeven (Heerlen, 1971) gives an answer. 

L.A. Raeven adopts marketing strategies – as used in fashion and media to create status and to reach the “right” target group – and applies it to their work. Where fashion houses, car manufacturers and alcoholic beverage companies incorporate and use art, artists and art institutions for marketing purposes, L.A. Raeven reverse roles. In a manner similar to the ones used in earlier works, the artists appropriate the brand of a prestigious art and fashion sponsor. Thus becoming “artistic” hackers who infiltrate the ambiguous agreement between the commercial and non-commercial cultural scene. However, in Killer Queen they go beyond that: not only do they abuse the brand in a way, they also expose the ulterior motives in the sly and misleading marketing techniques that these brands employ. 

Killer Queen is the recording of a performance that took place in Casco last October. Eight youthful models played a drinking game in front of the camera. As punishment for a wrong answer one had to drink a glass of champagne. The film shows how the models – in the process of flirting and bidding up against each other – slowly get into a state of drunkenness. 

However humiliating, Killer Queen only makes visible that which stays hidden in the advertising campaigns of alcoholic beverages companies, directed at minors. Only the lyrics to the soundtrack Killer Queen by Queen, that recur as a hypnotizing and repetitive element in the film, express the ambivalence of the exclusiveness and decadence that the brand calls upon, better: “… caviar and cigarettes, well versed in etiquette, extraordinarily nice… She’s a Killer Queen…” .


Killer Queen, Casco Projects, Utrecht (solo) curated by Lisette Smits (solo)

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