Friday, August 26, 2011

“My name is Snow White”

Fairy tales aren’t true.

“My name is Snow White” - Gabriela Pino at ThisIsNotAGallery.

It’s known that if there’s a rotten apple in the bushel it will spoil the rest.

I continue. The work by Gabriela Pino is an argument about skepticism today. A reflection of feminity in the time of cholera. Pure resistence in the face of social mandates, in the face of adolescent fantasy and gender drama. The masculine woman is imposing herself before us. Coupled with the idea of the rotten apple’s contaminating effect, we can see that a catalyzing spirit not just breathes through work like Pino’s, work with the power to awaken eyes accustomed only to settle its gaze on the obvious. But also, this spirit incites all her fellow fruit to rot in the rawness of the wood that contains it and binds its significance to a more common, less idealized place.

I insist. The installation itself corrupts. And it does so with the irrefutable force of reality; the trivial and fragile empire of the imagination is shattered immediately. At first glance, the wood dominates and sustains, long, in the retina. Clearly this is not the dream of a child at play. It is imagined by a woman who debates between truth and the inherrent naiveté of the waking female, convinced into complacency and belief in the unbelievable by the mouths of others. The debate between self and service takes place in this house, behind closed doors. Be it self-referential or not, it is nonetheless a debate about a woman’s position.

A radical work without consideration for the psyches it disturbs, the house that overflows with red apples strikes a hard blow of truth. A truth that, always slipping through the cracks in reality, breaks the sleepy spell cast by the imagination’s denial. Slowly but surely, the apples take centre stage. The woman of this house, once plunged into a dream, awakes now to another reality.  A poor prince? If she escaped and left her dress hanging out to dry, then the apples might represent her overflowing imagination. Popcorn growing under the lid, overwhelmed by the desire of he who listens to the popping from the outside. And we watch from the outside. Where reality is impetuous and undeniable, imagination has a limited space. Nonetheless a space that, with the force of a river, throws open doors and windows. This is the moment in front of our eyes. Thus the battle is let loose. And both armed sides ask us to take part.

Perhaps the work’s most honest moment, the open wound proclaims the failure of the tale plain to see. Where finally no one speaks of good or evil, Snow White and the Evil Queen could be the same character. This work challenges the roles of the hero and the villain, the victim and the victimizer. It questions who is in charge of the decisions we make, whether awake or asleep. When she needed to believe most, Snow White is the one who enchanted herself with the apple. Oops.

Guido Ignatti
Translated by Nathan Tichenor

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