Who is she?

Cecilie Høgsbro

She has the face of a troll and matted hair. She has a swan's neck and a doe's eyes. She is intimate with the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the forest. She is surrounded by a flock of half-apes. She is sick, she looks like a hanged cat. She adorns herself with borrowed feathers, she likes black pearls and white dots. She has her head in the clouds and both feet on the ground. She is sure of herself. She doesn't know what to do. She gives of herself. She gives herself up. She is melancholy, but she smiles. She is like an open book. 

She is the main character in a book without pages. Or rather, she invites us into a story that she will not tell. But she gives us its illustrations: pictures of the diffuse states of mind that we all know, and which each of us attempts to organise in the individual tales that we call our lives. She is a gigantic book that we cannot read straight away, but which can straight away read us. She looks like a picture book for children with animals, flowers and beautiful girls, but she is really an adult novel of sexuality and intense feelings. She brings us into a child-like state, where we hunt like children for the code that will provide the key to the strange world that we see before us. She transforms us into children who have to learn to read all over again. To crack the code, as they say. When we were children, pictures were not just illustrations, an extra layer of text; they functioned just as much as a gateway to the text, the key to its codes and its messages. The pictures were there to help use see what the text said. They turned the text into images. 

But once we had learned to read, the pictures gradually became less important than the text, and we thought we had really begun to understand what was going on. We were given the tools to divide the world and its phenomena into linguistic opposites, and we looked upon the opposing concepts as real forces, which were not always intellectually or morally equivalent, but on the contrary, were locked in eternal conflict. Not only did the text seem intellectually superior to the image; for many of us, novels began to appear more refined than comics or picture-books. Mankind was superior in wisdom and morality to the animals, who had otherwise been our closest confidantes when we were small. Yes, perhaps man had even become superior to woman, or vice versa. 

We actually believed we grew wiser from reading correctly, but she does not unconditionally agree. She wants to teach us to read again, and tries to get us to look at everything in a new light. She wants to remind us that everything – animals and mankind, man and woman, text and picture, the external and the internal – are not just incompatible contradictions, but belong together and are united in the ’one’. Separated from each other, these are just two confusing sides of one secret – one that we merely endure, but can never comprehend. 

Cecilie Høgsbro