hanne lydia

Private violence and other unpleasant stories


Kunstverket, Oslo, NO, 5. may - 31. may 2003


By Astrid Renland


The artist Hanne Lydia Opøien Kristoffersen draws pictures of the violence done to women.  Also called violence in the home. “Domestic disturbance” in the days when violence did not need to be explained. Private violence. The women represent in XXL -format, done with pencil, black crayons and a kitchen sponge. Anonymous, their backs turned to the audience.  A tabloidized presentation where body expressions replace the text. The vulnerability, the loneliness, the pain.  The shame?  40 000 women contact the shelters for abused women. 10 000 women are treated for injuries inflicted by violence. Every year. 900 women live with an assault alarm all the time, that is, in eternal fear. 1000 women live on the run. A new identity in the life of a nomad. An outlaw, excommunicated, legal protection?  5 % of the violence done to women is assaults, committed by a stranger. 20 % is done by husbands, cohabitants, boy friends. When men use brute force they beat and humiliate. Next on the list come beating with an instrument, insults, death threats, kicking, biting, hair-pulling and fist-punching, stranglehold, isolation, the use of guns, rape and killing. “Other” is also stated as a category.  Killed by two shots in the back – we quarrelled. A splendid chap. Responsible fellow. Well liked by friends and neighbours. The police at the door. Trouble. This is a tragedy – a family tragedy! Private violence. Excluded from the guest list, friends’ parties, the accepted circles.

Privatization of violence? She drinks, provokes. Does she enjoy it, masochist? 
Hanne Lydia Kristoffersen pictures a cultural taboo. A phenomenon that still, 30 years after the doors of the home were opened wide to visualize violence done to women, fills us with distaste. The expression of violence, but even more its presence.  Often met with silence, evasion. It does not happen in our social circles. The sanctity of private live. A silence broken in indignation at the defectiveness of the legal system, the inadequacy of the police, the leniency of the punishment. Just as the tabloid press splashes a new family tragedy.
 - Does it sound familiar?









last century
the Other
I am a block
The Storm
Pizza and Death
Being mistaken
true story
northward, by the sea
panties and threats
drawings on the right
drawings that grip you
private violence
marked for life
the scarlets
various text