Mythological scenarios have been given to us since birth: in the voice of an adult who reads a bedtime story and through popular gender-oriented animated films in mass cinema. They are aggressive and demanding. They sprout readymade schemes and invest unnoticed in an undreamlike life. Therefore mythology offers a certain set of female images and scenarios. A common motif in Western European mythology was the opposition of a caring and loving mother and a cold, evil, insatiable stepmother and, in turn, a defenceless and virtuous stepdaughter. The feminine qualities of a tree are also a motif, arising as a source of life, giving fruit and becoming a place of shelter.
The works details how it is to be a stepmother, to love somebody else’s child every day, and to be angry that somebody from the outside has violated the already fragile order of things with their intrusion. There is a reflection on one’s own life, sensations and experiences associated with the attempts to relinquish fairytale-like tragedies.
Escaping from forged maternity, from responsibility and fear, I find myself in the woods amongst the trees, myself becoming like a girl – the heroine in a fairytale, persecuted by evil forces. On the branches, I find magic objects – lost children’s things, carefully collecting them in hope of finding something that was found to be deprived. Losing to new family scenarios, I linger on moments of alienation which are inevitable in the relationships of close people. Again, I am convinced that it is impossible to slip away from the power of one over another, based on the fact that between relatives exists something that is impossible to see.
With the help of photography, I am constructing a pregnancy, looking for the missing source of maternal love. I paint children’s things in coloured light, illuminated bysunlight. In the process of creating join portraits, I form a model of relationships, againmaking sure that each depends on how much one chooses to invest in it.
Elena Ovchinnikova is a Russian photographer
© Elena Ovchinnikova