Rapunzel, 5

Video installation

Inspired by the nineteenth-century Brothers Grimm fairytale, Rapunzel presents a virtual curtain of swaying vines filled with pink and purple blossoms. Based on animation code that describes flowing hair, Steinkamp’s work references the disturbing story in which Rapunzel’s father steals plants from a witch’s garden in order to satisfy his wife’s addiction to rampion flowers; in turn, Rapunzel must be given to the witch as payment for placating her mother’s craving. Filling the gallery with an enchanted garden suggests the thriving crop of dangerous rampions, as well as the princess’s hair. Hypnotizing in their motion and beauty, Rapunzel’s tresses morph into the flowers that were her mother’s downfall.

Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Jennifer Steinkamp (American, b. 1958), Rapunzel, 5, 2005. Video installation, 12’ x 18’ (3.66 x 5.49 m)