Since its birth as a revolutionary play in the 17th century, one side character within ‘Hamlet’ has unwittingly taken centre stage for generations to come. There is something about the enigmatic Ophelia, lover and equally burden to our main protagonist, which has stirred a hundred interpretations as to her true nature and meaning.
Cell63 art gallery in Berlin, Germany, invites you to come and muse for yourself the interpretations of Ophelia by five contemporary female artists. In early modern performances within Shakespeare’s era, physical representations of a character’s state of mind were often utilized; the audience would be able to easily ‘read’ each character on stage. With her long flowing hair and white dress, Ophelia’s ‘female madness’ would have been a standard portrayal. But it is clear the she embodies more than a classification of madness and female melancholy. She has been seen as an allure, even as a tease, her innocence wrapped up within her vulnerability and much-perceived beauty.
‘As one of Shakespeare’s most popular female characters she has enjoyed many appellations from the bard’ explains Luisa Catucci, owner and curator of Cell63. ‘”Fair Ophelia.” “Sweet Ophelia.” “Beautiful Ophelia…sweet maid…poor wretch.” “Poor Ophelia…”’. Taking Ophelia’s personification through the ages, you are invited to explore this icon representing the role of the female as each artist brings her into modern society, spanning cultures, religion and familial connotations.
4 September – 31 October, 2016
ALLERSTR. 38 | 12049 BERLIN | U8 LEINESTR
For more information, additional
images, or exclusive content, please email the gallery directly: [email protected]
“For a character that only appears in five of the 20 scenes in Hamlet, Ophelia has garnered a great deal of attention from analysts, critics, artists, actresses, fiction writers, psychologists, and adolescent girls alike. Readers are consistently struck by her character that seems relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Ophelia is many times viewed as only important in relation to Hamlet and the effect she has on him. Ophelia is not just important in this respect, but also in respect to what she tells us about the society she came out of and the society we live in today.
First analyzing Shakespeare and his precursors then concentrating on the modern day prominence of Ophelia with an overview of feminist criticism and current applications of her story will show that Ophelia is indeed a character with many faces, both positive and negative.
Ophelia is one of the most interpreted and represented characters of Shakespeare. She garners constant attention from critics and re-visionists as well as people who identify with her just as Shakespeare wrote her. Depending on who directs the play or the movie, the interpretation will be different. Depending on the artist, the rendering may have a positive connotation or a negative connotation. Ophelia may have been a relatively one-dimensional character, but she has certainly become much more than a girl suffering… The fact that so many people do have knowledge of Ophelia is a testament to her immortality. From a nameless maiden, to a pair of erect nipples on canvas, Ophelia has transversed time in a way few characters have.”
Elena Helfrecht, born 1992 in rural Bavaria, found that the dark forests and folklore that seeped into her childhood greatly inspired her works to come. She discovered her passion for photography at a very early age. A self-taught artist, she aims to uncover the underlying aesthetics of suppressed fears, emotions and dreams. Only by looking at her subjects in their absolute entirety, she evokes an intimate intensity and creates enchanting abysses. Elena has also completed her Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Book Sciences in early 2015 in Erlangen.
Death and the Maiden
Elisa Ciregia, aka Dorian Rex, was born in Italy in 1982. Her photomanipulations portray her love for the uniqueness of traditional art mixed with the modernity of digital skills, constantly pushing her works to explore new angles reflecting states of urgency, curious amalgamations and ambiguous situations. She has a degree in Humanistic, in Graphic Interactivity and Virtual Environments from studying in Pisa.
Jaya Suberg, born in 1956 in Hagen (Germany), came to Berlin in the 1980’s and immediately fell under its spell of colours, sounds, parties, youth, music. She works on pictures and other materials as a collage diary, trying to transgress beyond the limits of the book cover. These intense and imaginatively surreal collages reflect her experiences and feelings – the ultimate mixed-media diary. The increasing ease of access to digital resources is for Jaya a revelation: she started to tattoo her beautiful creatures with a personal language, combining photography with painting, drawing, digital collage and an array of mixed media. For Jaja the feelings are universal, the stories interweave until everything either dissolves or deepens.
Mathilde Nardone, born in Brussels in 1994, has a Bachelor degree in Photography at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels-ERG – the Research School of Graphic Brussels. At the moment she works on “images produced by scanner”, in which the composition plays the role of the model for the final image. Since a scanner works with light, it allows multiple interesting visual experiences and possibilities. The selection of the objects used in Mathilde’s composition is picked out of a daily use array: vegetables, minerals, recycled materials, food, etc. The still life created by Mathilde raises the object from common to subject of art piece. The materials chosen by the artist are decomposed, broken down to a million pieces, or smashed by the scanner self. Some other materials are adjusted with extreme delicacy on the media to preserve their integrity. These experimentations are tested to determinate the resistance’s borders of the material or the sense of fragility. The work of the artist takes the narration to new frontiers, living the connections, the interpretations and the emotional responses entirely to the observers.
Bouquet Rose 1
Ramona Zordini was born in 1983. She had studied Graphic and Visual Arts, followed by a degree in Photography with two scholarships in 2009 to L.A.B.A. Academy of fine art of Brescia. She currently teaches Photography. Ramona has been published in international magazines and won the Telethon 2009 edition Award. Under the Tau Visual Award, Ramona has been named as “Author Reported” and in 2011, she was selected to participate in the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean. Having exhibited in several group exhibitions and personal ones in Italy and abroad, her works also form part of important permanent collections. In her research, she works on the concept of Ambiguity and Transition, using photography as main medium, then spaces in the creation of sets and straddles the borders of the picture. In Ramona’s world, the plasticity of the bodies and the symbolism of the objects are incredibly strong and poetic.