Verseau’s artistic practice revolves around the exploration of issues of gender, identity and social structures. The starting point for her work is her personal experiences of being a trans- and a new woman. She often investigates ideas of transition and recollection, as well as the ambivalence in telling personal stories, while at the same time being protective of one’s integrity.
Victoria Verseau is currently working on the feature film Meril that will premiere in the coming years. She has had several solo exhibitions in Sweden. In 2021 she will have a solo show in Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm and Uppsala Konstmuseum. Her films have been screened internationally, her most recent being Approaching a Ghost (2020) that got chosen by Bonniers Konsthall as the Swedish contribution in Artists Film International 2021 and will be screened in prestigious art institutions around the world. In 2017, she received the Anna Prize for her work with film, a stipend awarded by Women in Film & Television and UN Women Sweden.
Spectral Gaze is an attempt to capture the memory of my friend Meril and our time together far away from home in a remote city in Thailand. Meril and I met when we were about to undergo gender confirmation surgery, something we had longed for most of our lives. We awaited an uncertain future and supported each other in our worries. Three years after the operation, Meril decided to end her life. She was my only other trans-friend and I had always mirrored myself in her. Then and there, I felt my world fall apart.
Some years later, I decided to travel back to the city where I had met Meril. I brought my camera with the intention of capturing the memory of us. There, I realized that my self-perception had changed and the elapsed time had affected my memories, so instead I found a void after us. The people I knew were gone. Left was only the familiar scenery with backdrop-looking buildings, streets and vegetation; thereto the absence of our presence.
I was caught by the empty environments that seemed like places stuck between reality and memories. I decided to catch this atmospheric emptiness with my camera and departed on an intriguing spatial exploration. I was drawn to abandoned places such as the worn-down hospital where we underwent the surgery, a desolate hotel and the tidal lands—in constant transition—all loaded with immense significance to me.
Spectral Gaze has allowed me to process my personal experiences and I have found the means to address existential concerns, such as who am I and who do I want to be? Always having been anxious of speaking out loud, I have now found my voice; even if whispering. I want to tell my story and in doing so commemorate Meril and all those who didn’t have the energy, or were not allowed, to continue.
- Text by curator Yuvinka Medina, Bonniers Konsthall