Fear and power of hair by Ragne Nukk (2010-03-19)
In gallery Vaal is open the exhibition „Hairpower“ by Maarit Murka. The exhibition looks through paintings, installations and videos on the multi-level operation of hair as a mythologized object in human culture.
Hair and body hair in general are the carriers of strong symbolic meanings and connotations in all the cultures of the world. Whether they are long, thick, short, think – hair and their lack of and getting old is a ever relevant subject. The mythology of hair is mainly connected to women, although men have been left out of it unfairly.
Hair has the same emotional charge for men and women. As for women long and thick hair has always been an indication of good health and fertility.
During the WW I short hair became a symbol of womens emancipation.
Cutting hair, changing hairstyles is one of the easiest ways for considerably changing ones looks without painful surgery.
One might even say that hair is the only part of humans body that she can radically change by herself without any considerable pain. There are women who when going through great changes in life start with a new page by first visiting the hair saloon.
Hair carries the soul of the human. Let us remember many fairytales, where a flock of hair is an offering or is given to a loved one. In magic hair has direct connections with its owner.
The intimate, personal side of hair is illustrated by the Maarit Murka video, where she cuts the hair of her mother and father. Allegedly cutting hair in her family is a peculiar communication ritual and unfamiliar hairdressers are not allowed to such personal level. It is historically been believed that hair dressers have the power over the mind and body of humans.
Praising of hair ends there where cut off hair begins. Admiring beauty is replaced by horror right when hair is piled up on the floor cut off.
Power of hair
Maarit Murka demonstrates hair-fetish along with cut-off hair horror. In the video the ritual hair cutting of the family ends with rolling around in cut off hair, that sticks to the face and body of the artist. On the floor of the gallery there are piled up hair collected from hair saloons – that is the dead hair.
Hair is the symbol of vitality. Their forced removing has throughout history meant the loosing of social status and power.
Murkas series of paintings depicts moments from the 1928 movie „The Passion of Joan of Arc” , where the hair of the heroine is cut off before execution. This is a motive of humiliations and the violent suppressing of the personality as is explained in the cover letter of the exhibition written by Ellu Maar. Here we can see the difference between forced and voluntary cutting of hair, where the latter is seen as rebirth.