Patrick Heide Contemporary Art is pleased to present “This is not a fairy tale”, an exhibition that brings together the works of 5 prolific artists.

“This is not a fairy tale” investigates our romanticised and somewhat belittled image of fairy tales, and places it in a rather ambivalent light. The playful, dreamlike and infantile façade of most art works all hide an ambiguous soul and reveal darker undercurrents that might even clash with a not so fairy-taley reality.

“This is not a fairy tale” can also be seen as a reinterpretation of Sigmund Freud’s concept of the Uncanny. Deriving its terror not from something external, alien or unknown, the Uncanny rather relates to something strangely familiar inside ourselves which defeats our efforts to separate us from it.

RCA graduate Kate MccGwire turns unusual everyday objects into evocative and beautiful art works, which nevertheless retain a discomforting undertone. Pigeon feathers and wishbones, some collected over years, human hair and baby sleepers undergo a metamorphosis that challenges our preconceptions. By re-framing those materials Kate MccGwire questions and expands our concept of beauty to the extent that a repelling object can be transformed into a pleasing visual experience and vice versa.

South African artist Dale Berning’s beautifully flowing ink drawings of romanticised landscapes are closest to what could be called a fairy-land: peacocks, deer and other fantastic creatures roam through a magic forest. However, her drawings are often supplemented by sound-scapes displaying an amalgam of everyday noises inspired by the drawing that push the sweetness of her compositions to a biting edge.

RCA graduate Andy Harper’s paintings broadly reference a botanical world that spins out of control: a jungle of herbaceous plants and malignant flora, where weirdly shaped blossoms loom somewhat menacing in the brush. Executed with controlled and confident brushstrokes Harper pushes his compositions to the very edge and leaves an imprint on our subconscious rather than on our vision.

New York based Russian artist Yuliya Lanina. explores childhood traumas, cultural identity and sexuality through the imagery of manipulated and tormented dolls that stage as characters in her films and stage boxes. Lanina dissembles cute and cuddly toys or puppets and converts them into fetish objects that are at first glance often pure and innocent but perverse and violated at closer examination.

Recent LCC graduate Franziska von Stenglin will be showing parts of her series “Uncle Bobbel, Aunt Muck & the Wood Goose”. She traces her aristocratic heritage by contrasting vintage family pictures with current photographs of the very same privileged circles. Stenglin’s quest for identity, while pairing up past and present, results in a haunting and unsettling image of a lost part of society.

Kate MccGwire will create a striking sculpture in the upstairs gallery with pigeon feathers pouring in waves from the fireplace onto the wooden floorboards. Andy Harper and Dale Berning both created paintings and drawings specifically with a gloomy fairy tale setting in mind. Lanina’s most recent stage box and her spooky film “Mishka” will be both on display alongside a selection of her earlier films.