August 26, 2020 - Bonniers Konsthall - The Work of Mourning
August 26, 2020

Bonniers Konsthall

Alejandro Cesarco, Present Memory (still), 2010. Film.

The Work of Mourning
September 2–November 1, 2020

Bonniers Konsthall
Torsgatan 19
SE-113 90 Stockholm

T +46 8 736 42 48
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Artists: Nadine Byrne, Alejandro Cesarco, Lena Cronqvist, Jonas Dahlberg, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Berit Lindfeldt, Jennifer Loeber

If mourning names sorrow, loss and longing, then the "work" of mourning is the effort involved when we manage our grief. This exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall gathers pieces made directly "through" or "in" the process of mourning in an effort to explore the work that mourning demands. The exhibition lets us talk about objects and pictures being tools in the work of mourning, and discuss all that which is at stake in how we mourn, as well as how we navigate the inevitable end of each other and ourselves. 

There is indeed a great deal of theory on mourning. From Barthes we learn that mourning is entirely singular yet makes demands on the universal. From Derrida we know that loss is what is at stake always, in any relationship. Reading Martin Hägglund’s proposal of secular faith as finite beings we see that mourning also has a great deal to do with how we organize the world and Butler, of course, teaches us that we make differences as to whose life we are ready to grieve. But, above all, we know in our hearts that mourning is hard work. 

The Work of Mourning was planned long before the Covid-19 pandemic. The question of grief was given different force when we in isolation began to follow death tolls in their thousands, and many lost a loved one. We now hope the exhibition might become a place where we might grieve together and talk about the work in carrying on with it. Because perhaps, 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. We might then become less alone in grief; the work of mourning may be done together.

In this exhibition, we encounter mourning and unbearable pain, but also acceptance and love. However cliché it may seem, it might nevertheless be true that when words fail us art might provide the language we need.

Theodor Ringborg
Artistic Director

Bonniers Konsthall
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