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A Grimm Tale

This series of work is based on the original 1812 edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen by the Brothers Grimm.​



Life is beautiful and ugly, hopeful and tragic, full of wonder and fear. You are invited to step into the fairytales and reassess what your assumptions are. Is it really a magical place or a nightmare? Has our society evolved or do we just pretend that it has?

— Doris Kapner

As firmly stated in the above quote, Doris Kapner has tales to tell. Visual tales summoned from the original stories of brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Through her singular ceramics and prints, A Grim Tale forms pictorial accounts of "The Twelve Brothers," "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Frog King," "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Hansel and Gretel," "The Juniper Tree," and "Rapunzel." These 19th-century fairytales are the cornerstone of our modern-day versions. However, the original stories are filled with much less cheer and joy. Kapner whittles down the brothers' stories to a handful of images portrayed in ceramics, prints, and a three-dimensional vanitas still- life for a visual telling that delights and beguiles the senses.

As the daughter of German immigrants Kapner works from what is familiar and what is culturally significant to her. The stories of the Grimm brothers are important, as each recalls memories of her childhood. While the titles of the stories and representations of the characters and settings may be familiar to those who are not of German heritage, A Grim Tale will without a doubt open viewers eyes (and perhaps shock their minds) to the origin stories published by the brothers in 1812 and 1815.

The mono-prints and ceramics that form A Grim Tale work intrinsically to present a visual experience as devised by the creativity of an artist with a distinct cultural association to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who then re-presents this literary heritage in relation to contemporary life. Kapner describes her choice of media as, "The stencil technique I use for the mono-prints allows for not only beauty but a haunting feeling and mystery which I feel complements our relationship to these stories.

Pulling elements from the stories and creating work that feels both haunting and storybook-like, I explore the fantasy, absurdity, and social issues contained in the stories." Take this exhibition as an invitation to take in all aspects of the work displayed here to then form the fairytales for yourself as you reconcile the original stories with the highly sanitized translations that we find in present-day pop culture.

— Marisa J Pascucci, Guest Curator

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