Oh! how horribly she howled

by November 9, 2010

"An Unpleasant Surprise", by Tine Kindermann (2004)

Fairy tales — in their pre-Disney incarnations, that is — are stories not only of magic and wonder, but of life-threatening situations and fundamental fears. Recall Hansel and Gretel, the charming story of two children held captive for weeks by a cannibalistic witch, who eventually escape by pushing their captor into a burning oven: “Then Grethel gave her a push, so that she fell right in, and then shutting the iron door she bolted it! Oh! how horribly she howled; but Grethel ran away, and left the ungodly witch to burn to ashes.” (quoted from Grimm’s Fairy Stories, 1922 edition)

New York artist Tine Kindermann has worked out her fascination with fairy tales by building dioramas out of old drawers and crates, and fashioning peep-holes through which a viewer can peer into the magical world within — a world, like the tales, full of foreboding and tension, of horror recently enacted or about to unfold. Kindermann is also an accomplished singer, and has recorded a CD of old German folk songs (“schamlos schön”, selections from which can be heard here). Kindermann appeared last year with Iggy Pop as part of the “Love and Death” concert of the 2009 Ruhr Triennale festival; in the video below, the two of them sing “Schwesterlein” (“Little Sister”) from her CD:

Also see Zeina Assaf’s quick overview on Kindermann at the ever-interesting Culturehall.

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