No Fairy-tale Endings When Generations Collide
Tuesday, August 23, 2005 Posted: 12:08 PM JST
Asahi Shimbun's Edan Corkill beautifully reviews Miwa Yanagi's exposition "The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl" which runs at Tokyo's Hara Museum of Contemporary Art through November 6:
The tricks that young girls get up to! Leave them alone in a room with some makeup, a fireplace, two sash windows and old, unwashed walls, and they run amok-cavorting about, playacting, bringing to life all manner of fairy-tale characters: maidens, witches, wicked stepsisters, wolves.
Or so artist Miwa Yanagi shows us in her latest photographs, the "Fairy Tale" series, now on display at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.
Here are Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Gretel and Rapunzel. Though the characters are familiar, the scenes depicted in these large, brooding black-and-white pictures are not. Little Red Riding Hood, for example, is embracing her grandmother inside the cut-open stomach of a wolf. Snow White is receiving a large apple from an old woman; Gretel is biting at a sinewy old hand protruding from a small, dark cage. As no such episodes exist in the original tales, one can only assume that these girls-cum-actors are exercising some creative discretion.
What's more, they have a score to settle. In conventional fairy tales, wizened grandmothers and ugly stepmothers are the tormenters of children. Here, they receive their comeuppance. No doubt smiling behind their wrinkled masks, the young girls are like cruel puppeteers, placing the older characters in positions of weakness or subservience to the younger ones. In "Sleeping Beauty," for example, the young princess clutches a spool as she leaps on top of an old woman busy at a spindle.
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