Claudia Reinhardt

Trauerarbeit - the work of mourning

Grief is triggered by the loss or death of the beloved. All people share this fundamental experience, though it is addressed or repressed in different ways, dependant on the culture and character of the individual. Melancholy, an endless mourning, could be viewed as the remnant of an uncompleted grieving process owing to its social or individual denial.

In my work Trauerarbeit - the work of mourning, I started an investigation and dialogue with female widows in the generation of her parents (the war generation) in order to find images which could express the notion of grief and the pain of loss and emptiness. Through a long process she requested access to their homes and photographed these interiors.

The aim for me is not however to provide a documentation of widows and their grief. I am not interested in simply regurgitating an accurate documentation neither of the living spaces I visit, nor of reinforcing stereotypes of grief and loneliness through overused imagery. Far more, I hope to awaken associations and describe what grief actually means, as a necessary process and as part of life's work. The question is - how are memories preserved, how does one live with loss, where do the 'gaps' show, the grief? With these images drawn from interior spaces I want to explore and make tangible a world otherwise only felt, an internal state of emotion and melancholy.

Claudia Reinhardt, Mai 2012