I am opening a solo exhibition at Liepāja Museum, Latvia on the 9th of November 2018.
In her exhibition They Crept into Their Father’s Sleep, Marie Sjøvold seeks to create a space for reflecting on traumas, memories, and dreams that sometimes even span generations.
We live at a time when we are confronted every day with important questions about how we should receive people who are seeking refuge in Europe. Sjøvold wants this exhibition to raise awareness and to remind us that it was not so long ago that our own grandparents had to flee from persecution and face being put in concentration camps. The exhibition is intended as a venue where it is possible to talk about experiences that people in her grandfather’s time preferred to suppress, but that nonetheless rose to the surface at night and during sleep.
According to the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, the house is not only a venue for living but a venue for dreams– dreams that are continuously being infiltrated by the memories and dreams of the past. We live therefore at many different times simultaneously, and our imaginations colour our experiences. The house – the small, intimate area that frames so many of the major experiences of our lives – is key to Sjøvold’s exploration of concepts such as time, memory, sleep, and transformation in They Crept into Their Father’s Sleep. Can it be the case that the experiences of our forefathers during times of war can still affect our own and our children’s lives and dreams?
Sjøvold’s exhibition at Liepāja museum includes a photo installation that presents several layers of transparent photographs on lightboxes. These photographs were taken in 1945 and in 2016, in and around the house where her paternal grandfather lived after he came home from the Second World War, and that later became her father’s house and that is currently the home of Sjøvold and her own little family. The installation also includes three video tableaux filmed at Auschwitz-Birkenau in the same manner she photographed her own home, namely as seen in the light of her grandfather’s personal history. This lends the photos an everyday feel, even as a murkier undertone rise to the surface. This is an exhibition that explores the fragmented, ephemeral nature of memories and what gets passed down from previous generations – things that help shape who we are and what we believe we have experienced.
Curator: Inga Brūvere (LV)
Organizer: Riga Photography Biennial in cooperation with Liepāja Museum
Image: Marie Sjøvold. They Crept into Their Father’s Sleep, 2016
10 November – 2 December, 2018
Liepāja Museum, Kūrmājas prospekts 16, Liepāja.