Victoria Verseau
PHOTOGRAPHY From 19.11.2022 To 08.01.2023

The exhibition title is inspired by the 2019 song Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have (But I Have It) by pop singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, in which the contemporary pop-singer mirrors herself in the author Sylvia Plath in a period of disillusion and depression. The song, and its lyrics, have since become a refrain of resistance in the face of self-doubt and hopelessness for Verseau, whose work is an excavation of her memories of her friend Meril who is no longer in life, a formative time in a remote place, and of the dreams, hopes and aspirations which she has held and holds  as a trans woman. The exhibition Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For Women Like Us is Verseau’s story of becoming a woman years later than those assigned women at birth, and learning what being a woman signifies while transitioning.

The formative experiences Verseau conveys are not so much about the reconciliation of her experiences and contemporary body politics. Instead, she dwells on existential questions on becoming: if disillusion is produced in the encounter between one’s own dreams and the world, what created that dream, that sense of self, and the hope emanating from it in the first place?

Spread across four exhibition rooms, Verseau’s solo exhibition at Fotogalleriet navigates several mediums: film, photography, sound, and sculptural works which employ fabricated and “hoarded” objects such as used hormone pill blisters, make-up, discarded iPhone earphones, and dilators. The short film A Ghost’s Gaze is a commemoration of her friend Meril. Verseau’s voice is also present in new sound works and written texts.

Verseau strives to tell us stories still on the periphery, even in queer communities. The stories she tells resemble life itself in its light and darkness, simultaneously utopian, fatalistic, and universal. Her work is akin to the ambivalent state of awakening in the middle of the night, hovering between a feeling produced by a dream (or nightmare) and creating conscious and unconscious images. These multiple, non-conciliatory states also speak to the production and mediation of identities that have come to define many social struggles today. 

Victoria Verseau’s Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For Women Like Us continues Fotogalleriet’s ambition to challenge the existing sphere of representation by providing new and inventive images and photography as a powerful tool for self-definition and self-expression away from mainstream repetitive conventions.

Please note that for this exhibition Fotogalleriet’s usual wheelchair-accessible entrance is not open. If you have access requirements or needs please contact Head of Exhibitions Miki Gebrelul at miki@fotogalleriet.no before your visit.

Victoria Verseau (b. 1988) works in various media ranging from moving images to sculpture, large-scale installation, and performance. Her artistic practice examines the body and memory formation, shaping identity through the affection of social structures. She is searching to tell untold stories, remaining in the periphery towards oblivion. Approaching destructive forgetfulness, she attempts to capture, preserve and reconstruct the fleeting memories of crucial times that shape subjectivities. Verseau has recently presented solo exhibitions at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, “Approaching a Ghost,” and Uppsala Konstmuseum, “Engender My Past” (both 2021). Whitechapel Gallery, London; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Para Site, Hong Kong; Foundation Proa, Buenos Aires, and Project 88, Mumbai, among others, recently screened her video work Approaching a Ghost (2021) . Victoria Verseau lives and works in Stockholm, where she graduated with an MFA from the Royal Institute of Art in 2020. In 2017, she was the recipient of the ANNA Prize, established by Women in Film and Television (WIFT) Sweden and UN Women Sweden to expand the knowledge of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms Discrimination against Women). Presently she is working on her debut feature film Meril.

Fotogalleriet’s principal operating support is provided by The Norwegian Royal Ministry of Culture; additional operational funding comes from the Norwegian Photographic Fund (Nofofo) and Oslo Municipality.

The exhibition Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For Women Like Us is produced by Fotogalleriet with additional support from IASPIS, Konstnärsnämnden — The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and Helge Ax:son Johnson Stiftelse.