Nicoletta Ceccoli. Scary Fairy Tales

22 September 2021 — 19 December 2021
  • Nicoletta Ceccoli

Erarta Museum presented an exhibition by the artist Nicoletta Ceccoli – a dollhouse world percolating with very unchildlike preoccupations

  • Artworks shot through with a kind of ruthlessness inherent in fairy tales

  • Protagonists demonstrating a peculiar mixture of bloodthirstiness and meekness

  • An artist awarded the Andersen Prize as best illustrator of the year


For more than two decades, Nicoletta Ceccoli has been working as an illustrator of children’s books in collaboration with American, British, Italian, French and Taiwanese publishers. In 2001, she received the prestigious Andersen Prize as best illustrator of the year. What immediately catches the eye in the artist’s works showcased at Erarta Museum is the doll-like beauty, tenderness, and youth of her characters. Ceccoli’s girls demonstrate a peculiar mixture of bloodthirstiness and meekness. However, the longer one scrutinises these lovely features, the clearer it becomes that all pictures are shot through with a kind of ruthlessness inherent in traditional fairy tales. The beheaded hare, the sugary eye plucked out of a cake, the ginger man with his head bitten off – all this was done by the pretty protagonist. The latter can be likened to a piece of liquorice candy with its alluringly bright wrapping but startlingly sharp taste.

The conventionalised dollhouse world in which the stories conceived by the artist unfold resembles a stage. Very unchildlike scenes are being acted out on it: seas of cranberry blood are gushing out like in a 16-century play, while the main character seems to revel in her loneliness and melancholy. The girls ruling over tiny mice, fish, and birds apparently have a far better way with animals than with their own kind. The light emanated by the characters is incapable of warming or cheering anyone – indeed it is as cold and discomforting as an ice cube in the palm of a hand. Instead of explaining the world, Nicoletta Ceccoli’s uncanny fairy tales raise even more questions: who are these girls, and what awaits us in the end?

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