Path of Pins

Nadja Ellinger

2019 - Ongoing

City of London, England, United Kingdom; Bavaria, Germany; High Wycombe, England, United Kingdom

Path of Pins is a visual re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, revolving around adolescence and the awakening of the primordial and archaic feminine. As an oral tradition, the fairy tale is constantly changing and evading any attempt to fix it, and so the project is just a thread in the tapestry of stories about the girl who defeated the wolf.

In one of the earliest spoken versions of the fairytale, which later inspired Charles Perrault to write his ‘Petit Chaperon Rouge’, the wolf asks the unnamed heroine: “Which path will you take?”, to which she responds by choosing the path of pins, the careless and fleeting one – as opposed to the path of needles, the irreversible way of the wolf.

This decision of the pins reflect two interesting aspects: On a personal level, by refusing to follow the prescribed path, the heroine decides to stay a child and favours the state innumerable possibilities. Exploring what lies beyond, she leads us deep into the forest.

On an abstract level, this metaphor of pins and needles relates to how fairy tales are being treated: Like a butterfly collector, Perrault kills the living, ever-evolving oral tale, in order to present it to the reader in a pose he artificially forced upon it: Not only does he appropriate the story, but he coerces the heroine into the corset of his own ideologies. Compared to the early variants of the narrative, where the heroine tricks the wolf and escapes with artfulness, together with the help of washerwomen and the forces of nature, Perrault reduces her to a naive girl guilty of her own violation.

The fairy tale questions authorship: Every form of retelling or reenactment embeds former versions of it, repeats it, alters it, so it will never be original – no authorship can be claimed over it. The fairy tale gives birth to itself.

I own the story – but just for a short time, in the fleeting moments while retelling it. Then I lose control. My voice melts into the chorus of everyone who told this story before. But what is a choir without its single voices?

Therefore I work with my friends, my family, my own body. Like children, we create our fantasy world together that enables us to talk about the ineffable. It is a dreamlike state, where logic does not apply anymore and time works differently. The preconscious mind draws connections, develops a narrative I wasn’t aware of and finds analogies between this universe and reality, stitching these worlds together.

The tale develops, slowly, growing with each iteration, like a living creature.

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  • Brüderchen

  • A nice bouquet of flowers

  • Bud

  • Install shot of "The Path"

  • The Path

  • Bene

  • Demeter

  • Puddle

  • Hendkermädel

  • Watcher

  • Creeper

  • Untitled