Akeroyd Collection


TJ Wilcox, A Fair Tale (Extended Mix), 2006-2007

The ‘extended mix’ of A Fair Tale is a trilogy of films that splice the artist's own camera work with archival and found footage, shot on a range of media and from a range of sources. The eponymous film tells the story of a journey through small-town in the United States during the 1970’s. A Fair Tale is a silent film, supported by clear, concise captions that reveal a moving story, told through the eyes of the artist's childhood self. At a county fair, we see pig races, Ferris wheels, Native American dancing and skydivers among other familiar attractions. One ‘rogue’ skydiver falls to the crowd, his silky, billowing parachute enveloping everyone. The artist remembers a sense of panic in his young heart as he tries to escape. To his excitement and lasting memory, a Native American Chief pulls the boy from his plight and the sense of amazement and nostalgia is elevated in the combination of imagery and text.

A Fair Tale - itself an allusion to the ‘fairy tale’, is bookended by two semi-biographical films depicting the lives of two women from very different periods of history; Sissi, which precedes A Fair Tale and The Jerry Hall Story which follows. In Sissi, we are offered the tragic life story of the Bavarian heroine, Empress Elizabeth of Austria. We see her love of horses and dedication to dressage as a way to escape her unhappy marriage to her cousin, Franz Joseph. The film uses cinema clips and found footage of pageantry alongside still photography. Accompanied by subtitles, the narrative culminates in her murder by an Anarchist, who stabs her through her corset. The garment is so tight that it acts as a tourniquet and the heroine is unaware she is fatally wounded until it is removed. This poetic allegory of restraint, paradoxically keeping her alive, suggests, her freedom is only be found in death.

Finally, The Jerry Hall Story tells the rags-to-riches tale of the famous model, using iconic footage of her life and appearance in a Roxy Music video. We are told via closed captions that she started her career after winning eight-hundred dollars in compensation from a car accident. She moved to Paris, began modelling, and became engaged to Brian Ferry. Wilcox collages film he shot in Texas, Jerry Hall’s home state, with archival footage of the model, evoking a situated context and an atmosphere of uncertain pathos to the narrative.

Medium16mm film
Duration8 minutes 55 seconds
Editionof 5