vienna

Elaine Reichek, Minoan Family Tree, 2014, hand embroidery on linen, 24 × 22 1⁄8".

Elaine Reichek

Secession

The protagonists of Elaine Reichek’s first exhibition in Austria, “Now If I Had Been Writing This Story,” were four mythological women from ancient Crete: Ariadne, Europa, Pasiphaë, and Phaedra. While they may be of divine descent, these women are not in command of their own fates. Their destinies are determined by gods, kings, husbands, and lovers, driven by lust, betrayals, vendettas, and duplicity. They are kidnapped, abandoned, ransomed, glorified, or punished, always at the mercy of events beyond their control. They are free only to experience frenzied and often destructive passions, schemes, and lies. Their voices are but prolonged laments, and they are never allowed to assert any desire other than those prescribed by patriarchal power. There is no female redemption in the fixity of these myths.

What else connects these women? Reichek gives an answer in the embroidered genealogical

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