German / Germany

Mascha und der Bär
(Mascha and the bear)

Wacker, Renate (text/illus.)
Mannheim: Kunstanstifter Verlag, 2013
– [44] p.
ISBN 978-3-942795-14-2

Fairy tale

The publishing house Kunstanstifter has attracted a good deal of attention in recent years with ambitious books that stand out from the mainstream. ≫Mascha und der Bär≪ is no exception.

Originally a Russian folk tale, the story had, among other things, been turned into a successful animation series. However, Renate Wacker, who studies book art in Leipzig, now offers an illustrated retelling that is a far cry from the cute animated adaptation mentioned above. In her book, the hidden archaic structures of the fairy tale – lust, sex, power, and jealousy – are transformed into disturbing, expressive, vulgar, and crude pictures. Black outlines, scribbly lines, sloppily applied colours, such as a sulphuric yellow or a dirty green, create an atmosphere of discomfort and fear. Distorted references to pop culture and fine arts, such as faces resembling Donald Duck figures and Edvard Munch’s famous painting ≫The Scream≪, amplify this. (Age: 13+)