Growing Up and Staying Young-Tales of Heidi

Solo Exhibition, Haus zum Palmbaum, Rindermarktstrasse 14, Zurich, 19-27th of December 2015. Curated by Anca Sinpalean. Project developed during an  index-Freiraum residency, November-December, Index, Zurich.

Opening: Friday the 18th of December, 5pm, 19-27th of December by appointment only, Phone Number: 0041 774 552 485

“I am not that Heidi. Adelheid is my Name. I am neither innocence from the country, nor holy simplemindedness [..] I live in the valley and read the newspaper. I can read and vote.” Ulrike Ulrich, ”Nicht das Heidi”, 2015

A new “Heidi” film adaptation has just had its world premiere in Switzerland and a new 3D animation series, made after the famous 1974 Japanese animation, has been launched this year by France, Australia, Germany and Belgium.

Apart from the touristic and economic use of ”Heidi” (Heidiland, T-Shirts, Heidi chocolate-which by the way is produced in Romania by an Austrian company, etc. ) it is easy to observe how a national symbol has reached global proportions.

At least ”Heidi” was initially an indigenous Swiss product, in contrast to the ”Romanian” forefather of all vampires, Dracula, the Transylvanian Szekely prince, invented by an Irish writer in England, at the end of the 19th century.

What is so enticing about Heidi’s story that makes each generation engage with it? Why has it become a myth? And how does the spreading of a myth work? What sociological and psychological aspects are being touched upon in this process? These are some of the questions that the Romanian artist Delia Popa – artist in residency by Index Freiraum in Zurich – poses in her current research.

The exhibition ”Growing Up and Staying Young – Tales of Heidi” is a first part of this research that focuses both on the Heidi myth and on the Dracula myth.  

It will inhabit the “Haus zum Palmbaum” of the Preacher Church in Zurich with a video made of sequences of different Heidi film adaptations and three series of linoleum prints. The linoleum prints are made from drawings included in Delia Popa`s “Facebook Project” (2011-ongoing) and show anthropomorphic mice figures, alter-egos of the artist, that she drew even as a child. With humour and irony do the mice discuss political events, ideologies, emotions and circumstances of women in Romania.

The childhood theme and the nostalgic view on it (such as seeing children as innocent creatures who can save the world) is processed in Delia Popa`s new video “M. of the Eternal Return” (2015) through the placement of the Heidi story, via filmic repetition, in a “present continuous” time.

And girls become women….Under the influence of the U.S. author bell hooks and Mihaela Miroiu, a Romanian political philosopher, the artist has constructed her feminist stance. In one of the three linoleum print series appear names of Romanian feminists from the beginning of the 20th century.

A not yet published text of the index-affiliated writer Ulrike Ulrich “Nicht das Heidi/Not that Heidi” which will appear in spring 2016 in “Viceversa 10”, completes the exhibition and sends us from the Romanian context back to Heidi in the Swiss context.

”I earn my white bread on my own now […..] I have not been a child in a long time. […..] One doesn’t become healthy on my account anymore. You have to make yourselves happy on your own, darlings.”

Anca Sinpalean, curator, artist, Zurich, December 2015

With thanks to: Meinrad Furrer, Predigerkirche, Zurich

Sabine Hagmann, Astrid Schmid, Esther Schena, F+F Schule für Kunst und Design, Zurich

Ulrike Ulrich, Andreas Heusser, Annette Lory, Isabelle Capron, Michael Kuratli und Cornelia Heusser,  index, Zurich, Adrian Notz, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich