Curated by Letice Braun

The thought of losing our loved ones haunts and terrifies many of us. What will happen to our body after we die? How will we be able to live without each other? How will we be remembered? Through a selection of works from two contemporary artists, I dove into the subject of impermanence. Both artists approach the subject of coping with loss in intriguing and authentic ways. 

 In an interview with VICE, artist duo and twin sisters L.A. Raeven tackle the subject of impermanence. After a difficult period, which forced one of the twin sisters to think about her death, she feared the idea of being buried or cremated and desired to be taxidermized. But that’s not possible... it’s illegal for humans to be stuffed after they die. Only pets can be mounted. An interesting thought that triggered their curiosity. Through ANNELIES - LOOKING FOR COMPLETION, the twins explore the possibilities of having an identical android robot sister, created as a companion for when one of them dies

ANNELIES is caught in a silicone body full of solitude. She stands out because of the realistic way in which she has been designed: the wrinkles, visible pores, hairy arms, the redness in her face, and tiny details like a toe that suddenly moves. Those who spot her in the corner of an exhibition hall, feel an immediate desire to comfort her. ANNELIES responds to their touch, makes contact, but never stops sobbing. For the artists, mortality makes them seek comfort in a third sister but for ANNELIES, perhaps her immortality is what makes her seem hopeless.  

There is something mysterious about death... a transition in a natural process. Through aquarelle portraits in the series FACES OF DEMENTIA by Herman van Hoogdalem, this transition becomes visual. He approaches the subject of impermanence with portraits of real people going through dementia. A personal and emotional experience, that grabs your attention immediately not only because of the size of the portraits but also the level of detail: each brushstroke tells a story. Painful, yet beautiful when you wonder where the soul in the portrait is heading to and makes me wonder: Is fighting against impermanence worth it? 

Photos by Marthe van de Grift


“My mother died twenty years ago; she was demented. The changes in her character and facial expression have made a deep impression on me. During my visits to her in the De Dilgt residential care center, I saw a world that has stayed with me strongly... In FACES OF DEMENTIA, I remember the change process my mother underwent. I try to show the many faces of this process: the despair, the suffering, the uncertainty, the pain, the silence, the emptiness, the detachment, the resignation and what cannot be captured in words. Compelling, honest, sometimes painful but always with integrity. ” 

Herman van Hoogdalem 

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