Therese MS Roevik is studying Photomedia (Bachelor of Visual Arts) at the School of Art at the Australian National University. Coming from Norway to undertake her degree in Australia is challenging on many levels, and these experiences influence and inspire her work. Her interests lie in women’s psychology (especially female identity) and cinematography, which results in different depictions of psychological experiences employing video, photography and performance.
My initial inspiration was the Red Riding Hood wall hanging by Olga Basylevich in the Australian Journeys gallery. I was then intrigued by the sexual interpretations of the fable and wanted to focus on Red Riding Hood’s journey through the forest, with particular interest in women’s triangular relationship to her own sexuality. I drew connections between the symbolism of the forest in Red Riding Hood and the forest in works by Edvard Munch, with a focus on the painting Woman in Three Stages (also been interpreted as Sphinx). In my artistic interpretation, I wanted to utilise similar connotations with the ocean for purity, the forest for temptation and lust, and the nun within a state of the in-between. In viewing my work, the viewer is essentially the wolf/the voyeur, who gazes upon the three versions of a woman.
In regards to the music, I strived to capture a soundscape that would illustrate the different psychological states. The sound is an improvisational vocal piece recorded by Jenny Lu, set to three poems written by myself. The poems are inspired by Munch’s painting and also by the purity of the ocean and the mystery of the forest.
My work is originally a video installation on three separate walls projecting three videos: the virgin (10:19), the whore (8:24), the nun (1:22). The sound is played separately which allows the viewer to watch videos individually as well as together.
Date: September 2011
I was inspired by two works in particular: the wall hanging by Olga Basylevich within the Australian Journeys gallery and a painting by Edvard Munch called Woman in Three Stages. Within the painting there is, from my interpretation, a depiction of a virgin, a nun and a whore, which inspired me to recreate these characteristics in relation to Little Red Riding Hood.
Edvard Munch’s works as well as his diaries significantly influenced my work. One quote by Munch in particular refers to ‘Woman in Three Stages’:
I have seen many women that have thousands of shifting facial expressions, like a crystal. But I have never met one who so decidedly has only three — but these extremely strong ones… exactly as in my painting of the three women…. You have an expression of deepest sorrow… like medieval weeping madonnas. I have never before seen such an expression of effusive happiness [as yours] … and then there is your face filled with desire, and that is what frightens me. That is the sphinx’s annihilating countenance, and that is where I see woman’s most dangerous characteristics.
Reinhold Heller, Munch: His Life and Work, London, John Calmann and Cooper Ltd, 1986; 166.