FEMINIST | Victoria
In FEMINIST, Catrine Val records situations whose very banality lends them the archetypical character of myths of the commonplace. Her photographs, which are composed with the same care as paintings and are just about always attractively framed, are the complete opposite of snapshots. They bear the past within themselves—as something that has been survived, left behind, taken leave of. Rarely has anyone dressed themselves with such evident care in order to look so quirkily unfashionable. The person depicted has absolutely nothing to do with the here and now. In this case, fashion functions as a “tiger’s leap” (Tigersprung) into the past, as Walter Benjamin once so aptly put it; however, it is not that the past is brought back to life, but rather the very fact that it is over, its radically outmoded “feel” and the sense that it is gone forever are forcibly brought to our attention. These clothes do not bring the past alive or into the present. Rather, they conjure up the sense of the bygone. For this reason, the person depicted on the photograph usually seems utterly out of place, incongruous, inappropriate, shoehorned into absurd geometric correspondences. The clothes may be an allegory for this carefully “fitted” incongruous inappropriateness, although these almost never have to be made to fit the person shown in the picture. The figure in these self-portraits does not have a place anywhere; her time is not the present, and the moment depicted is an impossibility.