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The Nymphadalidea Collective 

 

The Nymphadalidea Collective (2013-2014) explores my fascination with the butterfly print and how it originated.  Earlier known as Klecksography or ink blots,  devised by Justinus Kerner (poet) in 1851 and used as illustrations to his work.  Later these inkblots also became known as Gobolinks or shadow pictures. The latter eventually captured a great deal of interest and the work by Ruth McEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine made into a book form game “for young and old”  was published in 1896.  The work taught the reader how to create ink-blot monsters in order to ignite imaginative creative writing. The method, indeed similar to that used by Kerner,  involved dropping ink or paint onto a piece of paper which was then folded thereby producing a double-sided mirror reflection in two halves. 

Klecksography was studied  with great fascination by Rorschach, the Swiss psychoanalyst, and this technique of ink blots was later made famous and was to become more popularly known as the Rorschach Test. The ink blot test became a tool used by psychologists in order to examine personality characteristics and emotional functioning by triggering associative thoughts, involuntary imagination and unconscious desires.  It is still used in the world of psychotherapy to this day for studying the subconscious.  

The work I produced in the Nymphadalidea collective originated from a selection of vintage photographs of burlesque dancers. Burlesque performers entertained the audience through political and theatrical satire (whilst being the object of sexual desire for men). They defied conventions of their time by challenging the role of women in society. Adopting the technique of the ink blot upon the burlesque dancers my objective was to produce a double sided mirror which enhanced their feminine powers whilst allowing an associative trigger of the imagination akin to Klecksography.