Being the Other: Fabienne Francotte
Fabienne Francotte’s ‘Being the Other’ maps junctures of shared trauma communicated through wordless intimacies experienced by the artist as she was invited to Bangladesh. Following traces of bodies once whole, now violently contorted, Francotte inquires about what responsibility we have toward the visible or even the partially visible. The empty backgrounds holding these isolated figures implicate the viewer in a kind of involvement. They ask us to consider how we manoeuvre questions of responsibility when we are confronted with the experiences of others. A skimmed viewing of the pieces may risk engendering associations of loneliness, abuse, and suffering. The artist encourages sustained looking instead, particularly toward the images that a viewer may find hard to take in. Francotte invites to “not just see the drama of the surface, but move beyond it into the container of the soul.” Perhaps this is the first step in a path to action where to ‘be the other’ is not to compare pain, but instead to mutually recognize it in ourselves.