“Summertale,” a 20 minutes long, vibrant video that veers between bucolic bliss and blood-splattered grotesque, is a theatrically staged fairy tale fantasy starring Kozyra, Maestro, Gloria Viagra and five female dwarfs. And, like in fairytales, the characters reenact the struggles of good and evil, right and wrong, us and them, innocence and guilt, stopping just short of “happily ever after” resolution. In a guise of old fashioned fable, the morality play of our time unfolds. Kozyra constructs cinematic artifice reminiscent of Federico Fellini and Matthew Barney. Using masquerade as a tool of exposure she confronts myths, taboos, and gender stereotypes as they touch upon larger universal truths about human nature, otherness, private behaviours, and conventional standards of beauty.
Summertale, the last film made as part of the project In Art Dreams Come True. It is a vivid contemporary fairy tale which conveys Kozyra’s artistic statement related to the role and value of the male element in (her) world.The story betrays a patchwork structure. Featuring motifs borrowed from a variety of fairy tales, Summertale combines idyllic aesthetics with elements of horror and thriller. The narrative scaffolding resembles that of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (even though, according to the final credits, there was no specific fairy tale to provide the basis for the film). Here, dwarves become she-dwarves and Snow White appears as three characters: Maestro (Grzegorz Pitułej, teacher of singing), Gloria Viagra (Berlin-based drag queen) and the artist herself, dressed up as Alice in Wonderland. The tranquil and idyllic atmosphere of the female dwarves’ world is disturbed by the arrival of the three characters. However, the status quo needs to be restored, no matter what it takes. As part of a broader project In Art Dreams Come True, Summertale plays a unique role of a moralistic parable. Whereas other parts of the project revolve around accepting an artistic challenge (e.g. acting as a ‚pop star’ in Cheerleader, or reaching a certain level of vocal mastery in Diva. Reincarnation), here the aim is not only to become a fairy tale character but also to convey a certain message – the refusal to eliminate the Other, embodied here by whimsical and often unbearable men.
References: Katarzyna Kozyra, Casting, exhibition catalogue, M. Sitkowska, H. Wróblewska (eds.), Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw 2010.