Three photographers present folklore and the imagined: re-enacting French literature, reinterpreting Greek and Roman myths and performing fairytales.
Through interactive games, Hester Jones records children enacting and playing out fairytales, dwarfed by high heels and absorbed in croquet and tea parties. By iniviting children to particpate in interactive games, such as 'Who Stole the Tarts?', the artist actively engages with children in the making of the final image, exploring the often dark and sinister world of fairy tales. The work challenges romantic and idealised portrayals of childhood, where the child is often 'object' as opposed to 'subject' as found in more traditional and historical paintings, photographs and current media representations. Fascinated by fairy tales, and intrigued by children at play, Hester is inspired by the therapeutic possiblitites of the concept of play for both adult and child. The work explores identity, the loss of childhood innocence, and the child's vulnerability in today's society.
Francesca Tilio’s photographs retell one of the masterpieces of French theatre, 'Les Bonnes' by Jean Genet, a play which shocked the France of the thirties. In this play, the sisters Claire and Solange Lemercier perform a role-play every evening when their loved and hated Mistress is away, taking turns to portray Madame and the housemaid. The ritual is always the same, ending with the murder of the Madame. Genet describes the servants as "monsters, like ourselves when we dream of being this or something else". Francesca records the moments of their daily, delirious performance in which the sisters exhibit evil yet erotic femininity. In this dramatic series, actresses are caught in a suspended moment – the eight shots are a prelude to an ending that we will never see.
Rupert Jessop illustrates classical myths, isolating characters and elements from these ancient stories and revealing thin slices of their drama. The characters here are trapped in endless conflicts and tragedies which are retold as the mode of the age dictates. His photographs are highly saturated, thick with intrigue and mystery.
Curator Louise Forrester comments: "These three projects are so different in scope, yet all share a sense of drama and remind us of the magic of the imagined. I hope that the photographs in this exhibition will both surprise and delight."
This unusual and exciting exhibition is free of charge to the public and runs from the 30th October to 22nd November at the Viewfinder Photography Gallery.
'Myths and Fairytales' has been generously supported by Metaxa and Artful Dodgers.