© Biel Capllonch
© Biel Capllonch

Contemporary Fairy Tales

Pierre Huyghe (F), Erich Weiss (B), Stefan Banz (CH),
Vincent-Emmanuel Quitter (F), Biel Capllonch (E),
Olaf Breuning (CH)

We all grew up with fairy tales. There is no child in the western world who is not familiar with the names of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, who cannot accurately retell the story of Little Red Riding Hood and who has never heard of Bluebeard or Puss in Boots. We are used to see them in colourful picture books, hearing them on children&Mac226;s programs on television and radio, and humming catchy tunes from Disney movies based on their stories. Yet rarely do we look deep into the lessons fairy tales have taught us and continue to teach each new generation of children who grow up with them. These lessons are there and, imbedded in our minds in a very early age, they continue to influence us throughout our lives. What do fairy tales teach children ? How they shape us and our conception of ourselves and the world around us ?

The six artists I invited for this exhibition all explore the fascinating world of the bedtime stories we shared with our parents and grandparents. They use the archetypical heroes and anti-heroes of our childhood in their work and link them to the world surrounding us. They confront us with an adult version of these familiar characters and seduce us to discover how these apparently innocent narratives are based on eternal themes like evil, gender roles, violence and power.

In fact this is logical, when considering the origins of the genre. Most of the familiar fairy tales were written in the late 17th century France by Charles Perrault. At the time these stories were merely a few among many written by various authors, most of whom were female. The fairy tale fad started in the literary salons of the French aristocracy. It was a new style, taking folk tales as an inspiration. But it also served as an instrument for the communication of socio-politically charged messages.

Fairy tales never were exclusively dedicated to children. They hide and will keep hiding secret messages only meant for those able to read between the lines

(Text by Erich Weiss)

Ausstellungsdauer: 4.8. - 9.9.2001

40 Underwoodstreet
GB-London N1 7JQ
Telefon +44 (0)20 7253 6337
email: info@fiveyears.org.uk