Ok, by request, here is my artist’s statement for my installation which I have entitled: In Search of the Wolf
In Search of the Wolf – Artist Statement
Inevitably they find their way into the forest. It is there that they lose and find themselves. It is there that they gain a sense of what is to be done. The forest is always large, immense, great and mysterious. No one ever gains power over the forest, but the forest possesses the power to change lives and alter destinies. (Zipes, 2003)
The above quote by Jack Zipes, takes me to a place I remember and yet cannot find on a map. In my current work I am exploring the meaning of this lost place within the concept of fairy tales. In Zipes’ forest, we can confront the wolf, and survive to tell the tale. These stories have been passed down through history throughout the world. They have set behaviour patterns, and archetypes with which we can access the fragmented parts of ourselves.
I chose to work with this theme because I have always had a love of books and other worlds, which I am sure I have lived in. I have been in an active search of the wolf throughout my adult life, ever since I fell in love with him as a child. Unfortunately this lead to some bad relationship decisions, which I feel were due to my lack of understanding of my own identity. I live in a world and an era in which I often feel alien. This has led me to create my own worlds within my art and poetry, where I can find healing and sanctuary.
I am currently working with mixed media, and installation, in which I allow my own personal mythology to lead the way. The fairy tale like characters and a winter forest setting, reference the stories I grew up with and the areas in Northern Europe where many of these stories originated. I am using traditional women’s crafts, to form my beast or animus. This illustrates the strength of the female, which is enhanced by the assimilation of the animus. The tattered piece of cloak references the many retellings, of folk and fairy tales through the ages.
The narrative within my work is personal, but others may find their own story within their interpretations, or even be inspired to explore their own identity through this genre. Carl Jung believed that in order to reach our real self we had to meet our shadow and our animus or anima and assimilate these aspects of our personality into our selves. Jack Zipes illustrates the part Fairy Tales play in this process, which Jung calls Individuation, when he said:
Fairy tales begin with conflict because we all begin our lives with conflict. We are all misfit for the world, and somehow we must fit in, fit in with other people, and thus we must invent or find the means through communication to satisfy as well as resolve conflicting desires and instincts. (Zipes, 2012)
My work engages in a dialogue with both traditional fairy tales and storytelling through imagery and installation. I am interested in the narrative art of artists such as Kiki Smith and Paula Rego
This project is underpinned by the theories of Carl Jung, James Hillman and Jacques Lacan, relating to the concept of a fragmented self. The works of Jungian psychologist Marie Von Franz, and the writings of Jack Zipes, who is a professor of German and a scholar of fairy tales, also inform my current work.
Jung, C. G. (1970). The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. (G. Adler & R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (2 edition.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Von Franz, M.-L. (1970). Interpretation of Fairytales. Dallas: Spring Publictions Inc.
Von Franz, M.-L. (1990). Individuation in Fairy Tales. Boston: Shambhala.
Von Franz, M.-L. (1995). Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales (Revised.). Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Zipes, J. (2003). The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World (2nd edition.). Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Zipes, J. (2012). The Irresistable Fairy Tale. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.