Mary Reid Kelley

b. 1979, Greenville South Carolina, USA. Lives and works in Rome, Italy.


Mary Reid Kelley
Mary Reid Kelley, You Make Me Iliad, 2010 (still)



You Make Me Iliad is a pastiche of epic poetry, in which multiple personae converse in a mixture of poetic styles including rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter. The work constructs a metaphorical world in which language and its terms stand in for the basics of life, from emotions to politics and even scatology. But the effect of the work is more than just symbolic; the themes Reid Kelley addresses also highlight contemporary issues such as the use of sexual violence as a weapon, and the role of women in warfare. These problems have historically been left aside in debates around warfare, forming a lacuna that paradoxically contributes to their perpetuation. Storytelling and drama operate at a distance from the facts they address, enabling a nonetheless provocative understanding of these shocking realities through artifice and symbols.