Painting with Fire

Elena is the first Latina princess created by Disney, introduced to the small screen in 2016. Described with terms like “bold,” “adventurous” and “fierce,” Elena has a scepter of light, a wand that exerts magical powers and weakens her body slightly with each use. Unlike all of the significant Disney princesses who have appeared on the big screen first, Elena was introduced to the market without a major theatrical film release, only on TV, which has caused some to denounce her treatment as second-class.

Painting with Fire is an installation conceived as an imagined aerial view of a painting, defined by corner structures made for the nursery room of the Schindler house, each of which has a painting or video component derived from the performance of the burning Disney princess castle. The video imagines Elena’s encounter with her castle as a site of defiance, a transmutation in which wand becomes torch and solid pink plastic becomes grey matter, fixed turned volatile, abstracting the process of burning through an intimate closeup. As flames consume the castle, the scene becomes both substance and allegory for the danger of Elena’s essentialized “fiery” nature expressed as feminist resistance. The half-burnt, congealed plastic remains bring the materiality of the event into the alchemical space of painting: painting with fire. Photo credit: Gene Ogami.

Painting with Fire is part of the group show How to Read El Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney, curated by Jesse Lerner, Rubén Ortiz-Torres and Fabián Cereijido at the MAK Center.

MAK Center Schindler House
835 N Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 9, 2017, 6–8PM. On view through Sunday, January 14, 2018.
More info at <http://makcenter.org/programming/how-to-read-el-pato-pascual-disneys-latin-america-and-latin-americas-disney/>