Gazelle Twin is the creation of producer, composer and artist, Elizabeth Bernholz. From the start, Bernholz has utilised the anonymity provided by costumes, masquerade-like, to assist in her performance. ‘The original reason,’ says Benholz, ‘is that I’m quite shy and, with my face on show, I’d be inclined to be meek and apologetic.’ Rather than an exercise in vulgar emotional exhibitionism, Gazelle Twin constitutes ‘a retreat inwards’, crossing boundaries of identity and gender.
The persona created for 2014’s industrial-pop LP, Unflesh, and on display live in recent months, grew partly out of Bernholz’s response to the London riots: ‘young people are always demonised, very misunderstood, but they’re also at the peak of this intense consumerist culture. You just think, what might happen if we ply generation on generation with excess desire, unattainable desires, and just hammer it? It’s survival mode, but it’s survival for nothing. Survival for the most menial reward. You’re not running from a lion, you’re just trying to get out of the supermarket after buying some dinner.’
Gazelle Twin’s unnerving, Cronenberg-inspired craft is, according to Bernholz, ‘like a shedding of skin. It’s a tearing out of your body down to your skeleton and breaking free’. Paradoxically perhaps in the light of this, Gazelle Twin is also a unusually discreet, secretive animal in a world where new female starlets are pushed to reveal everything about their private lives, in song and interview, photograph and film. Instead, Bernholz masks the surface, taking us on a dark and depraved journey into the remote cells of her subconscious.