Märchen / Fairytales


With her pictures, in which classic fairytale ingredients such as toadstools, forest clearings, spinning wheels, bears and deer surface, Behrend discharges the principle of reality inherent in photography in an original way: Nothing is just what it seems. Photography is indeed a trace of what has been, but at the same time a play with gestures and memories far beyond what can be seen in front of the camera. And all this happens without pompous stagings, trusting in an ability to remember – not only available in a child's repertoire. It appeals to experience that becomes physically perceptible when looking at the images: the sensation of hanging upside down while being held securely, discomfort when roaming through thick scrub, the taste of wild strawberries right next to dangerous toadstools, everything can become an inspiration for a story that emerges from subtle details. Leitmotifically this seems to be introduced with the first picture, the older lady with the little girl at the spinning wheel.

The magic of the images is created by a casualness, almost as if made while walking, where with every step secrets are discovered and, in a certain complicity with the viewer, preserved. Perhaps straw can after all be spun into gold, or at least that's what it looks like in Behrend's images. In the light of these reflections, one catches oneself considering throwing a frog against the wall. And not a bad idea also is to put on glittering red shoes again, to pay attention to potential signals and to keep the memory of secrecy and danger, adventure and salvation. In Ute Behrend's photographs, these memories are preserved and do not want to be disenchanted.

Kerstin Stremmel