Hansel and Gretel / by Anna Rae

I have a lot of love for fairy tales. They provided an escape for a complex childhood.  The stories opened up play and imagination and options to explain actions or give possible outcomes. The most productive aspect of fairy tales was that it gave me a new option for character. Some of my favorite friends are those that purovide an insight or critical observation that I wouldn't have thought of based on my life experience. A lot of my concept driven art deals with the themes above in regards to fairy tales:  flexible narrative that adapts to its interior and surroundings, escapism, working through complex and unnamable feelings and surreal landscapes. There are many lofty books and treatises that I've read that have given great insight but I really appreciate an accessible spoken platform. The podcast, "Stuff You Should Know" is one of my favorites. When they came out with the "Dark Origins of Fairy Tales" I was not surprised since they tackle pretty consistently interesting topics. A lot of the info is rudimentary if you've looked into fair tale histories already but it's still worth a listen. 

 

I was chatting with a friend the other day about some of the manipulative conceptual art that I've done in the past, like the collaborative work with 111 Historical Society, a fictitious team effort to infiltrate the printed  history presented of Lafayette Indiana.   It reminded me of one of my favorite artists who had done similar work in a way that made me think "DANG IT. HE GOT TO IT FIRST." Which happens a lot as a working artist. Dario Robleto's work is crafted meticulously, not only in tangible quality, but also in the concept conveyed behind it. The most impressive aspect of his work is the convincing faux materials used to make the objects:  

The Southern Diarists Society 

2006

Homemade paper (pulp made from brides’ letters to soldiers from various wars, ink retrieved from letters, cotton), colored paper, fabric and thread from soldiers’ uniforms from various wars, hair flowers braided by war widows, mourning dress fabric, silk, ribbon, lace, cartes de visite, antique buttons, excavated shrapnel and melted bullet lead from various battlefields.

 

Did he really pulp letters from brides' letters to various soldiers from various wars?  I don't care about that being true. I care that it made me consider the brides and their loss, if only for a moment. It enforces the idea that materials used for an artwork is important. It enforces the idea that the actual use of material is insignificant  and the persuasion is most important.