Alejandro Cesarco, Present Memory, 2010
The Work of Mourning
Sep 2 – Nov 1, 2020
Bonniers Konsthall
Stockholm, Sweden

If mourning gives name to longing, loss and sorrow, then the work of mourning is the effort involved in working through that grief. The exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall wants to deal with this – the work that grieving demands. However, the artworks on display do not approach the theme in a theoretical manner; instead, it gathers works that are created through or in the process of grief.

Planning this exhibition began long before the Covid-19 pandemic. From the beginning, the idea was to examine our relationship to portraits and objects that remain after someone has passed away and how mourners can use these as tools in the grieving process. The issue of mourning was given new urgency once death became a daily occurrence and the world began to follow curves that represented thousands of lives that had come to an end. We now think of this exhibition as a place where we can talk about grief together. For if an artwork can allow us to imaginatively identify with someone’s mourning, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. Thus, we might become less alone in grief; the work of mourning may be done collectively.

In this exhibition, we encounter grief and unbearable pain, but also acceptance, survival and love. These are personal topics, difficult to talk about and when words aren’t enough, art can provide the language we need. Or as Cronqvist says, “On the other hand, I have painted it. So I don’t really have to talk about it. It’s all there to look at.”

Artists include Alejandro Cesarco, Berit Lindfeldt, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jennifer Loeber, Jonas Dahlberg, Lena Cronqvist, Nadine Byrne