After someone dies, their image and defining characteristics take on new meaning. The first image I recall when I think of my grandmother is often her hand; I imagine it jumping across the pages of fairy tales she read to me, and sometimes I even slip on her opal ring and imagine myself as her, acting out the rhythmic motions. The idea that part of her continues to live within me is as comforting as it is unsettling; although we longer take Victorian-style post-mortem photographs of our deceased loved ones, we carry their images with us, in our minds as well as in photographs. A friend of mine never removes two photographs from her wallet, one of her late mother and the other of Andrea Dworkin.
The artist Jenny Fine is inspired by post-mortem photography and the recent trend Flat Daddies and Flat Mommies, in which deployed soldiers construct life-sized cutout versions of themselves for their children at home. Fine hopes to reconnect with her beloved grandmother, and in Flat Granny, she constructs a cutout photographic version of her late grandmother that serves as a sort of paper-doll for her own living body. The work goes against the grain of modern-day pocket-sized momentos, enveloping the artist and dictating her movements. As Fine navigates the image of her own beloved relative, she is no longer bound by normal proportions of the physical body; it would appear that she, like me, recalls her grandmother’s hands with clarity and reverence. Tenderly drawing upon the artist’s own grief and sense of play, Flat Granny creates a startlingly poignant sort of visual bond between the living and the dead. What do YOU think: creepy, beautiful, or both?
Thanks to Beautiful/Decay
Images via Beautiful/Decay
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.