Bratteli, Marianne, 2000

200x230cm, KODE - Bergen Art Museum

The monumental Postwar Period (2001) can arguably be rated as one of Marianne Bratteli’s major works. The title and motif reflect the artist’s own childhood in post-war Oslo, and one is tempted to envision the three girls as representing the young artist and her friends. It is the vulnerable and exposed individual that is depicted and displayed here. For although there are three of them, the young girls have no connection to each other and stand conspicuously isolated and separate from each other. The dominant existential and sombre tone depicted here is a repeated theme in Bratteli’s imagery. Often combined with a singular and droll humour, without being in the least obtrusive or pompous. The formal effects in Postwar Period are sparse, with a rough, hewn idiom and a meagre palette. There is nevertheless an enormous variation in values; in the span from total white to a deep grey there are nuances of green, blue and brown, and scattered accents of black. The bright yellow hair on one of the girls creates a sense of energy and can perhaps, together with the simple bouquet of flowers in the second girl’s hand, represent a hint of hope and belief in the future in an otherwise Spartan and spare existence.