SCHWYZ.- The Forum of Swiss History
in Schwyz has turned into a fairyland. The main focus of the exhibition «Fairy Tales, Magic and Trudi Gerster» is on the legendary Swiss storyteller Trudi Gerster. Her unique voice still fascinates thousands upon thousands of listeners and theres no way of imagining a childrens room not resounding without it. In addition, the show takes the viewer on a journey through the wide world of fairy tales, from ancient Arabian legends to the modern fairy tale heroes of Hollywood.
Trudi Gerster was born in St. Gallen and grew to become a phenomenon. Her talent was discovered back in 1939 at the famous Swiss National Exhibition in Zurich, and over the years, up to her death in 2013, she became the national queen of storytelling. One of her hallmarks was her distinct eastern Swiss dialect, which today ranks as a treasure in the acoustic memory of Switzerland. At special listening stations children can follow her reading stories, while documents, objects, photographs and film clips provide additional information on Trudi Gerster‟s accomplishments and stages in life.
Masters of Storytelling
The second part of the exhibition focuses on the European tradition of fairy tales, relying on works by Giovanni Francesco Straparola, Giambattista Basile and the French writer Charles Perrault. Of course the Grimm Brothers, whose stories have lost nothing of their magic over the last hundred and fifty years, are also part of this narrative tradition and feature in the show, as do the enchanting stories by Wilhelm Hauff and Hans Christian Andersen.
Needless to say, you cannot have an exhibition on fairy tales without reference to the great Oriental tradition of storytelling, particularly the legendary «One Thousand and One Nights». The classic piece of world literature has inspired countless authors, film directors and composers. While our young visitors get the chance to «fly» through an enchanted world on a magic carpet, the «big» viewers learn more about the history of this Middle Eastern collection of stories, for instance, that the oldest Arab manuscript dating back to ca. 1450 served as the source for the first translation into French.
Fairy Tales in Contemporary Art
Fairy tales have left their distinctive mark on the visual arts. The Swiss video and computer artist Annelies Strba and the French illustrator and cartoonist Tomi Ungerer show in different works, how fairy tales have impacted on contemporary art. Strba and Ungerer stand for numerous modern artists, writers and composers whose works are influenced by the enchanted world of folktales.
Ancient Storytelling Modern Media
A selection of films and listening stations invites viewers to escape the confines of space and time and delve into the world of fairy-tale heroes and heroines. The selection includes a few classics from the early days of movies, such as clips from the one hundred year-old fairy-tale movies by the French director Georges Méliès, scenes from new and old Hollywood productions, and, of course, the famous Czech classic «Three Gifts for Cinderella» of 1973.