Where were YOU
when Brå’s ski pole broke
when the Twin Towers fell
when the first warning sign appeared
your first heat flash the first Google search for
hot flushes and the top results were male night sweat
Something happened. The colours disappeared. To retain some nuance, the colours were translated into warm and cold greys. To provide a hint of colour, a reminder. As if to say that behind this, everything is as it used to be. In colour.
The title of the exhibition refers to a phase in life that is rarely spoken of, in spite of its upsetting nature and duration in the lives of both women and men. While the teen years bring increased hormone production, the climacteric causes a substantial reduction. The symptoms are often similar for both sexes, but have different consequences. The female Menopause entails a transition into reduced allure in a society that prioritizes younger people. The male Andropause is not perceived by society as a similar burden. In her reflections on the subject, both in drawings and text, Figenschou finds various ways to comment on the silence and undercurrents of shame associated with the climacteric.
In previous drawings, the masked self-portrait has been a recurring theme with reference to the strategies various cultures employ for expressing identity through covering or uncovering the body. The approach can be seen as expressing the need to claim ownership of the self-portrait, which throughout art history has been the dominion of men. In contrast to the visual language of previous work, in recent works the style has been toned down to create a sober distance. The approach represents a continuation of the portrait/self-portrait where the subject’s absence tells a story through the attributes of objects and the absence leaves room for interpretation. The images originate in snapshots taken with a smartphone, the immediate is brought out through time-consuming draughtsmanship and scaling that effectively creates a distance to the digital starting point.
The texts that accompany the exhibition are written and collected over the past two years. They represent a continuation of the visual works and explore private spaces, mirroring something even more intimate and seemingly insignificant. The texts have been translated from Norwegian into English, creating a bi-lingual publication. The publication is provided free of charge to visitors and exists as an object to take home from the exhibition. This can be perceived as inclusive, but also as obtrusive. This approach has been employed for several exhibitions where the books manifest themselves as sculptural objects in the exhibition space, last seen at Høstutstillingen 2015. The texts also form the final part of a trilogy: the previous publications are called Labile Dokumenter / Volatile Documents (2013) and Beretningen om et varslet brudd / An Account of Predicted Estrangement (2015). Etterskjelv / Aftershocks (2017) has been translated into English by Svein Svarverud.