Small world

Mariele Neudecker, I don’t know how I resisted the urge to run, 1998

There is something oddly strange about the way the light streams through the trees in Mariele Neudecker’s I don’t know how I resisted the urge to run. But for the uneven ground of the forest floor, I think I’d want to run too. The trees are bare and though their trunks are healthily tall and straight their branches are short and spindly. That all is not well here is reinforced by the eeriness of the atmosphere; the scene is permeated by a slightly toxic-looking fog

The forest is a loaded space, familiar from fairy takes as a threatening place from which we might not escape. It is easy hard to maintain a sense of direction when every tree looks the same; as darkness falls shadows loom in the forest. Fear is an appropriate response.

Neudecker’s world is a strangely small one though. For all that the feel of the scene disturbs me, I can resist the urge to run. This is a forest in miniature; a world contained. The fog still looks toxic though.

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