Snow White doesn't live here anymore

Javier Téllez


Mixed Media, variable dimensions.

Collection: Courtesy Javier Téllez & Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich.

In El Hotel Eléctrico, Téllez presents an installation consisting of eight masked lamps with the evocative title Snow White Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (2010). Of course, this immediately provokes certain associations, but raises questions as well. Snow White is gone, the Seven Dwarfs remain. But then who is hiding under lamp number eight? And why do they all wear balaclavas? The balaclava, or more broadly the mask, is an often recurring element in Téllez’s works and film installations, for example in the video La Batalla de Mexico (2004). Here, a fictional militant/patient wearing a balaclava takes over a psychiatric hospital in Mexico City.

In Snow White Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Téllez takes a symbol of domestic conviviality, a mood lamp, and turns it into its opposite: a glowing, but rather malefic, animistic object that is brought to life. While in Disney’s films the nasty side of fairy tales is systematically coated with a sugary gloss, Téllez's provocation is to turn these dwarfs into potential robbers. Instead of bathing us in a tranquil glow, this anthropomorphic assembly seems intent on emitting fear.

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