Painting, sculpture, photography and video by international artists:
Peter Callesen, Paul Morrison, Vanessa Jane Phaff, Kiki Smith, Annelies Stuba and Janaina Tschape
“The witch scoured out the kettle with the snakes, which she tied in a knot. She then cut open her breast, and let the black blood drop into the kettle, the steam of which formed such extraordinary figures, enough to frighten any one. Each moment she threw fresh things into the kettle, and when it boiled thoroughly it was like the crying of a crocodile”.
‘The Little Mermaid’, Hans Christian Andersen.
In this exhibition, photography – still and moving – prints and sculpture retell fairy stories in ways that allow them to occupy the same territory as they once did. So-called ‘primitive’, early versions of fairy tales, that pre-date even Hans Christian Anderson, were bewitching and transgressive, incorporating stirring kinds of unpalatable truths as well as touching on escapist and pleasurable states.
As well as a large-scale castle Danish artist Peter Callesen will construct out of one giant piece of paper on site, a fantastical creation that rises from the ground leaving behind the cut outs as proof of this extraordinary feat, Paul Morrison creates a spectacular stark black-on-white painting for the new entrance to the Gallery where strange shifts in scale inspire a sense of anticipation and foreboding as does Vanessa Jane Phaff’s exaggerated fairy-tale book style paintings which deconstruct the traditional story of Little Red Riding Hood: this little girl is stubborn and resourceful and unafraid and her relationship with the wolf is rather ambiguous.
American artist Kiki Smith shows a series of etchings by that are charged with danger and eroticism; Annelies Strba’s DVD explores enchanted landscapes; a dark wood that contains ‘delicate beings’ seen drifting, dancing and sleeping, that come out of this Swiss artist’s fascination with the local legend of the ‘Cottingley fairies’ and Janaina Tschape’s film presents a beautiful woman dressed as a mermaid repeatedly letting rip an angry scream, silenced only by the fact that she is underwater and that the scream forever returns. So just why did the mermaid scream?