Cherchez la femme
Andréhn-Schiptjenko has the pleasure of presenting Cherchez la femme, Katrine Helmersson’s first solo exhibition in Stockholm since 2003. The exhibition opens February 20, 5 -8 pm and runs through Sunday March 21.
The expression ”Cherchez la femme!” originates from Alexander Dumas the elder’s novel Les Mohicans de Paris, published in 1854. Its original meaning – that behind every crime or odd behaviour in any man there is a woman he wishes to impress or has an illegitimate affair with – has with time become the cliché of ”the woman behind it all” and the supposedly omnipresent tension between the sexes. The dichotomy of male and female and the culturally established ideas surrounding it is a field that Helmersson continuously reflects upon and explores in her œuvre.
The new exhibition consists of series of objects and sculptures in organic shapes and forms where hard is juxtaposed with soft, black with white, round with sharp, iron with wood. The works associate to original forms or religious artefacts from indigenous peoples. Helmersson’s travels, including trips to Mali and stays with the Dogon-people, have served as inspiration. The artist succeeds in infusing shapes and materials with potent yet undefined emotional content, where the physical shapes communicate what we know but cannot verbalise. A political stand-point or fact is given physical shape, as in her breakthrough works La Société Phallocentrique or La Veuve (Wanås castle 1992 and 2001).
Helmersson is born 1958 and lives and works in Stockholm. She had a major breakthrough to a larger audience in the early 1990’s with striking sculptures using phallic and breastlike shapes. Her most recent larger solo-exhibition took place at Uppsala Konstmuseum in 2005.