Alice in process…

Instead of the question “Who is Alice?” there are now paths leading to what Alice might come to be…

25 Nov 2010

Little Alice Riding Hood


"Smith furthered her exploration of socially suppressed attitudes towards things such as sexuality, death, and human vulnerability hidden in children’s fairy tales. She used traditionally feminine materials, such as doilies, to bring forth the hidden violence, mayhem, and black magic found in these narrations. She focused on relationships between humans and animals in creation of hybrid creatures that reflected the blurred line between the human mind and between the human and natural world."


"Kiki Smith and the Human Body"




Kiki Smith



Kiki Smith


Nesses dois desenhos a artista dialoga com histórias de duas meninas que vivem, cada qual a sua maneira, ritos de passagem. Alice e Chapeuzinho Vermelho. O corpo a corpo com os animais domesticados, questionam a própria animalidade dos corpos das meninas em confronto com representações ideais e civilizadas da infância e do feminino. O bicho se torna gente e a gente se torna bicho e a artista desafia identidades bem comportadas e corpos selvagens. O trabalho de Kiki Smith é um mergulho nas estações do corpo e no imaginário do feminino em sua poética e sua política.


A aproximação e a hibridização entre Chapeuzinho e o lobo tem uma vasta presença nas representações contemporâneas como  Angela Carter que subvertem  as convenções da tradição oficial dos contos de fadas (entenda Perrault e irmãos Grimm), propondo estórias transgressoras e questionadoras.

Embora as ilustrações originais de Tenniel mostrem uma Alice muito bem comportada e domesticada, a menina atravessa aventuras onde seu corpo e sua identidade são constantemente questionados, menina, monstro, serpente, telescópio e já não sei mais quem sou depois de ter transformado tantas vezes desde o café da manhã.


In these two drawings the artist speaks about the stories of two girls who live, each in its own way, rites of passage. Alice and Little Red Riding Hood. The melee with the domesticated animals question the very animality of the bodies of girls in comparison with civilized ideals and representations of childhood and feminine. The animal becomes us and we become animals and the artist defies well behaved girls and wildlife bodies. The work of Kiki Smith is a dip in the stations of the body and the imagination of  feminine in its poetic and politic dimensions.

The approach and hybridization between Little red riding hood and the Wolf has extensive presence in the contemporary representations of fairy tales, like
 Angela Carter among others, subvert the conventions of official fairy tale tradition (Perrault and Brothers Grimm, mainly), proposing transgressive and questioning 
stories.

Although the original illustrations of Alice
by John Tenniel show a very well behaved girl, she goes through adventures where her body and identity are constantly questioned, girl, monster, serpent, telescope and no longer I know who I am after having transformed many times since the breakfast.




Kiki Smith, Daugther, 1999



Nesse trabalho Kiki Smith lança um olhar afetivo para os contos de fadas. Suas instalações multimídia convidam o público a habitar um mundo de sonhos doces e terríveis pesadelos. A artista traduz esses contos numa linguagem visual de inquietante beleza e profundidade psicológica. Ela se defronta com os estágios de amadurecimento da sexualidade feminina e os ritos de passagem da puberdade para a vida adulta, nos estimulando a explorar o prazer e a dor com o olhar curioso da criança. 

Sua visão de “Chapeuzinho Vermelho” inclui uma figura ambígua e provocante que explora os medos e os traumas da infância. Em ‘”Daughter” (1999), uma escultura de papel com uma capa de lã vermelha, revela uma menina assustada com sua face coberta de pêlos de lobo. Ela sugere que talvez a inocência de Chapeuzinho e a maldade do lobo não sejam tão opostos como agente imagina. Para ela “Daughter” é uma filha do lobo com a Chapeuzinho, que incorpora tanto o masculino, quanto o feminino e o animal. A sexualidade e a violência em Chapeuzinho Vermelho refletem as ambigüidades da atração e repulsa. 


In this work, Kiki Smith takes a affective look for fairy tales. His multimedia installations invite the audience to inhabit a world of sweet dreams and nightmares. The artist translates these stories in a visual language of disquieting beauty and psychological depth. She confronts the stages of maturation of female sexuality and puberty rites of passage to adulthood, encouraging us to explore the pleasure and pain with curious eyes of a child. 

 His vision of "Red Riding Hood" includes an ambiguous figure and provocative that explores the fears and traumas of childhood. In '"Daughter" (1999), a sculpture of paper with a red woolen cloak, reveals a frightened child with his face covered with hair wolf. She suggests that perhaps the innocence of Hood and the evil wolf are not as opposed as an agent imagines. For her "Daughter" is a daughter of the wolf with the Hood, which incorporates both the masculine and the feminine and the animal. Sexuality and violence in Little Red Riding Hood reflect the ambiguities of attraction and repulsion.

 Here is Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf tonam one. The wolf is the animality of us all, which is won by the girl on his journey to the wild. The ideal of pure and innocent child falls to the ground to welcome our becomings wild.


Lewis Carroll




Kiki Smith


Kiki Smith



Kiki Smith


Seguimos aqui novas pistas nesse encontro proposto pela civilidade aparente de Alice e o mundo selvagem de Chapeuzinho Vermelho. Kiki Smith vai buscar a Alice anterior ao convencionalismo de Tenniel, no mundo selvagem e estranho dos desenhos subterrâneos de Carroll. Partindo de Carroll, Kiki Smith recria monstros, seres selvagens e irreconheciveis dentro da fauna catalogada, eles apontam para a tradição dos bestiários recuperada mais tarde pelos artistas surrealistas, viajantes dos subterrâneos do inconsciente e da selva mental.

Se pensarmos mas leituras freudianas (Bettelheim e outros) e jungianas (Clarissa Pinkola Estés e Marie Louise Von Franz, entre outros), todos os elementos dos contos de fadas como dos sonhos traduzem os conflitos internos do sonhador, leitor, ouvinte. Se pensarmos também que em se tratando de um sonho, mesmo que não seja um conto de fadas propriamente dito, a viagem de Alice é dentro de si mesma, os conflitos que enfrenta são seus próprios conflitos internos, e os monstros que encontra são seus, são ela também. Alice é um mergulho em si mesma e esses monstros que a perseguem na cena são seu também o seu próprio mundo selvagem da qual ela tenta escapar. Mas ela também se torna monstro.

Here we follow new leads in the meeting proposed by the apparent civility of Alice and the wild world of Little Red Riding Hood. Kiki Smith will seek the Alice prior to the conventionality of Tenniel, in the wild and weird underground of Carroll's drawings. From Carroll, Kiki Smith recreates monsters, beings in wild and unrecognized fauna, that point to the tradition of the bestiary retrieved later by the surrealist artists, travelers into the underworld of the unconscious ant the jungle beneath the mind.

If we think in Freudian readings (Bettelheim and others) and Jungian (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Marie Louise Von Franz, among others), all elements of fairy tales as the dreams, reflect the internal conflicts of the dreamer, reader, listener. If we think also that being a dream, even if not properly a fairy tale, the journey of Alice is within herself, the conflicts they are facing their own internal conflicts, and the monsters she finds are hers. Alice is a dive in herself and these monsters that chase her in this scene are also her own wild world of which she attempts to escape. But she also become a monster.



Kiki Smith


More of Kiki Smith HERE
Telling Tales Kiki Smith






Follows excerpts from the introduction f the book:
The Beastly Bride: "Tales of the Animal People"



Anthology edited by Terri Windling and Charles Vess and Ellen Datlow

found HERE


"Contemporary writers use animal-transformation themes to explore issues of gender, sexuality, race, culture, and the process of transformation...just as storytellers have done, all over the world, for many centuries past. One distinct change marks modern retellings, however, reflecting our changed relationship to animals and nature. In a society in which most of us will never encounter true danger in the woods, the big white bear who comes knocking at the door [in fairy tales] is not such a frightening prospective husband now; instead, he's exotic, almost appealing.

 (...) 

 Whereas once wilderness was threatening to civilization, now it's been tamed and cultivated; the dangers of the animal world have a nostalgic quality, removed as they are from our daily existence. This removal gives "the wild" a different kind of power; it's something we long for rather than fear. The shape-shifter, the were-creature, the stag-headed god from the heart of the woods--they come from a place we'd almost forgotten: the untracked forests of the past; the primeval forests of the mythic imagination; the forests of our childhood fantasies: untouched, unspoiled, limitless.

 (...) 

 "Likewise, tales of Animal Brides and Bridegrooms are steeped in an ancient magic and yet powerfully relevant to our lives today. They remind us of the wild within us...and also within our lovers and spouses, the part of them we can never quite know. They represent the Others who live beside us--cat and mouse and coyote and owl--and the Others who live only in the dreams and nightmares of our imaginations. For thousands of years, their tales have emerged from the place where we draw the boundary lines between animals and human beings, the natural world and civilization, women and men, magic and illustion, fiction and the lives we live." 

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