the picture of the yellow sun
"we made a fire in the garden and burned all the letters"
In 2002, my father died alone in his apartment. He died of cancer and was 57 years old. I was in my late twenties at the time.
When I was young, my father was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. My parents separated and divorced when I was nine years old. Three years before they separated, my younger sister was born. She was born with brain damage due to complications during her birth. After my sister’s birth, my father’s condition got steadily worse. During that period, I was very much left on my own or with my crazy father. It was a time of fear and loneliness. But also a time of creativity and sometimes fun due to my father’s many artistic skills.
In 2001, I decided to take photographs of my father. It was difficult for me to spend time with him but by using the camera as a shield, it was possible for me to be with him for short periods of time. We would meet at my grandmother’s place. She was an old lady by then and we celebrated her 90th birthday during this period.
Long after my father’s death, I still couldn’t look at the photographs I had taken of him. They remained hidden in my archive for many years. Eventually, in 2013 I decided to scan my old negatives and started to work with those old images. In 2015 one of the portraits of my father was selected for exhibition at Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling (a curated art show in Copenhagen). It was an extremely vulnerable feeling to have this image on display to the public. Yet at the same time it gave me the courage to finally undertake to a project to explore my complicated relationship with my father.
This Project is about that relationship. The project combines new and archive images, and is part of a larger project that will eventually be published as a book.
Combining the images has created a visual narrative consisting of memory, experience and emotion. Past and present combine to create a safe path from which the complex relationship can be explored and understood.