Work of Mourning explores grief and mourning. What can grief be said to be? How does grief feel and what is its shape and form? How can its impact be made visual?

The central part of the installation is a 3-channel video in which documentary interviews interlock with ritual-like performances. In both interviews and visual interpretations, a group of female artists participate, a group which artist Nadine Byrne initiated and is part of. Together, they share the experience of losing and mourning their mothers. The film navigates through questions of grief in relation to the body, creativity and memory and balances in its narrative between intimacy and abstraction.

The way the three video channels play against each other creates a rhythm that differs from scene to scene. The three channels are projected on a separate screen and both enclose the viewer and forces it to actively participate as a viewer.

The installation’s sculptures serve as material extensions of the video’s four interpretive scenes. They are frozen moments in which the bodies in the video have disappeared. The color scale of the sculptures as well as a recurring waveform are representations of how grief is experienced. Blue in its color, surging in its shape. The steel that reappears in both the sculptures and the screens on which the video is projected, is also chosen for its stripped-down, sterile expression that is meant to create a breathing space to meet the many difficult emotions that arise in the encounter with descriptions of grief.

Grief is something that occupies or will occupy us all, yet in Western society we have got rid of many of the customs we used to communicate our grief. This has contributed to grief being seen as something private that we try to avoid speaking of, when in fact it is an experience we can find solidarity in. Work of Mourning seeks to lay bare the impact of grief and in doing so provide solace for all who is affected by it.

Work of Mourning (Sorgearbete)

3-Channel video

(In the single channel-version above, each channel is represented by a frame)

36.52 min

Sound, color, spoken language Swedish with English subtitles

Featuring: Nadine Byrne, Tanya Byrne, Linnea Hansander, Marja Knape, Madeleine Kozma, Agnes Mohlin, Mariana Silva Varela, Klara Wiksten

DoP: Marcus Harrling

Music: Nadine Byrne

Sound technician: Tanya Byrne

Colorist: Nanna Dalunde

Made with generous support by Bonniers Konsthall

3 min digest

5 min documentation of 3-channel video installation

Each screen is 100 x 177 cm

The Black Ribbon

Hand dyed fabric, steel

100 x 190 x 250 cm

Portraits from a Void (1-6)

Fabric, embroidery, plexi-glass printed photograph, wood, steel

21 x 20 x 88 cm each

The Presence of Absence

Steel, rope, photo collage, glass

25 x 18, 5 x 100 cm

Attire for travel along the river Styx

Fabric, steel

42 x 130 x 115 cm

Installation shots from the exhibition Sorgearbete at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm September 2020. Photos by Jean-Baptiste Béranger.

THANK YOU: Everyone participating in the film + Ingrid Gustafsson, Madeleine Åstrand, Sarah Kim, Weld, Martin Malm, Iaspis, Aurelia Le Huche, Fabian Grytt, Johan Meisel, Bonniers Konsthall