Monday, February 27, 2012

Kiki Smith in Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination

Born by Kiki Smith

The Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination exhibit offers two works by Kiki Smith. I'm going to share the same images from yesterday's post of the works, published by the Nashville Scene. Multiple images of both of these works can be found around the web. For fairy tale devotees, they are perhaps the most well-known images in the exhibit.

I am not an expert on Smith's work, but have admired it for a long time now. One of the best websites about her work is MoMA's site dedicated to an exhibition of her work at Kiki Smith: Prints, Books & Things. You can read about Smith's Little Red Riding Hood works in the section labeled Feminine Contexts. From the MoMA site:

Smith's most recent print on the subject of "Little Red Riding Hood," Born, is a more violent reading of the story, depicting the wolf with blood dripping from its mouth. It is based on the ending of some versions of the story, in which the little girl and her grandmother emerge from the wolf's stomach after being eaten. This interpretation implies salvation and rebirth; and is fused with Biblical overtones and Virgin Mary symbolism; as well as Smith's simultaneous explorations into the figure of Sainte Genevieve (see "Rapture" below). The monumental lithograph; which took over three years to complete; went through a dynamic series of stages before Smith settled on the final version.

Rapture by Kiki Smith

Rapture, while it certainly draws upon Little Red Riding Hood, too, is primarily inspired by St. Genevieve.

From Art21 at PBS:

In several of her pieces, including "Lying with the Wolf, Wearing the Skin," and "Rapture," Smith takes as her inspiration the life of St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. Portrayed communing with a wolf, taking shelter with its pelt, and being born from its womb, Smith’s character of Genevieve embodies the complex, symbolic relationships between humans and animals.

The following is a segment from PBS's Art 21 on Kiki Smith's work in her own words.

Watch Stories on PBS. See more from ART:21.

And, as always, here is the exhibition catalog:

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