Monday, 23 May 2011

Alice Anderson: Childhood Rituals - Freud Museum

Approaching the house you can already get a sense of what is to come. The red hair ties up the house like a giant web - twisted and taught it gives the house a sense of foreboding and tension. This work is called Housebound. I really like the name as well - it adds to the tension of the work very successfully.
Inside on the ground floor there are several installations of objects : a doll covered completely with red hair and mixed media. Around the room a several small human shapes bound tightly into compact shapes. A Film is running on a loop and the hands are working the thread tightly around the finger it is pulling on a paper butterfly below which appears to flutter to life. Eventually the winding of the thread cuts off the blood flow and the finger turns purple. The thread is unwound.
We all remember this 'ritual' as a child. The fear associated with not being able to get the thread off.

Anderson explores the relationship of fairytales and rituals used as a child. She also plays with the mother daughter connection.
Andersons work appears both magical on one level and threatening/unsettled on the other. The work she produces always stays with me for along time. She plays in this space of ambiguity and the whole experience leaves you wanting more. The attention to detail is what I appreciate. The hair in the installations always seems to thread through the buildings. I looked behind a shelf to see where the hair went, it always appears to go through the wall. As I looked I could see pieces of plaster and paint sprinkled in the corner making it seem real - not pretend.

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