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Get down to earth with the fairies

— May 2014

Associated media

 Antonella Ferrari, Unspoken

A group show by West London Arts Collective seeks to connect the essence of the fairy-tale tradition with the here and now.

We say that someone is ‘away with the fairies’ to mean that they are disconnected from reality. And indeed their all-pervasive iterations in Disney cartoons has propagated this notion of the fairy tale as a fanciful and escapist form. It’s no secret, however, that these stories have often tapped into the more disturbing parts of the human psyche, full of sexual misconduct, violence, and parental betrayal.

Recently there has been a fashion for reconnecting with this dark heart, for example in movies such as Snow White and The Huntsman. Still, running through much of this work there seems to remain a certain romanticization of that which belongs to a past era. And even those ‘definitive’ versions by the Brothers Grimm were self-censored and set in the distant past relative to the time in which they were recorded.

In an attempt to ground fairy tales and folklore and to rescue them from their sometimes melodramatic connotations, some of the featured artists have chosen to take images from traditional tales and give them a new context, either in a contemporary setting (for example, the Three Bears are depicted at an art show unaware that their home is being burgled), or with a cock-eyed slant pointing us towards the manufactured and commodified nature of folk narratives, (modern popular hero/villain Che Guevara recast as Groucho Marx).

Some works directly illustrate pre-existing stories, yet imbue them with a timeless immediacy that is anything but ‘away with the fairies’. Conversely, some artists weave new fairy tales seeded from very real experiences, such as the case of mysterious noises emanating from the attic of a new flat. Ostensibly mundane scenes are imbued with qualities that provide access to the ethereal whilst avoiding whimsy and remaining firmly rooted to this world.

West London Arts Collective was formed in 2013 to provide a framework to share resources, ideas and exhibition opportunities in West London and beyond. ‘Down to Earth (with the Fairies)’ features a variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture and video, from members of the collective as well as contributions from around London, the UK and Europe.

Opening Friday 16th May 2014 6-9pm
Exhibition runs until Sunday 1 June 2014
W3 Gallery
185 Acton High Street
Londond W3 9DJ

Tuesday–Saturday, 11–7p.m., Sunday 2–5p.m.

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