Intertwined Realities: (2016)
Marie Sjøvold’s Photographs

“[Philosophers] know the universe before they know 
the house, the far horizon before the resting-place.”
                                       

The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard


Marie Sjøvold’s art explores timeless themes such as maternity, family, and sleep. We live at a time when motherhood is subject to constant discussion and focus, and many women feel pressured to share their maternal bliss on social media. Although the home, the family, and motherhood are all visible elements in society, a deeper reflection on such essential frameworks of everyday life is often lacking. It is precisely this type of reflection that is at the heart of Sjøvold’s oeuvre. In Midnight Milk (2015), for example, we follow the photographer through various stages, as a heavily pregnant woman, a recent mother, and a mother with young children. In a photograph taken right after the birth of her son, we see the photographer resting with her baby lying close to her chest. The plastic bracelet around his hand and the white linen indicate that she is in hospital. The artist appears to be asleep, but her hand, which is holding the child’s head, reveals that she is merely resting. Her hair is dishevelled, and her facial and body hair seem almost canvas-like. For anyone who has seen a woman right after she has given birth, there is a sense of corporeal recognition in this scene. The picture showcases Sjøvold’s ability to turn the intimate and private into something universal. This is no rosy-eyed depiction of postpartum reality. As spectators, we can feel the exhaustion and at the same time the almost brutal proximity to life.