INHERITANCE
Inheritance, is a series of photographs that catalogue the entirety of one man’s worldly possessions at the time of his death. The sum of the images create a posthumous portrait of the deceased. This project is an exploration of identity and legacy, as well as a challenge to traditional ideas of portraiture.

The deceased is my grandfather who passed away last march and this series explores my personal process of loss and mourning. In many ways these photographs can be considered documents of a performance, one in which the tangible remains of a lifetime are sifted through, sorted, documented and dispersed. It is a private performance involving the creation of time-sensitive sculptures, their documentation followed by their destruction and dispersion. I am alone in my late grandfather’s house, packing up his belongings to be kept, sold, donated or thrown out.

I organize these temporal sculptures by category, weaving together a portrait of a man through his possessions – through what he left behind. These photographs function simultaneously as an acknowledgement to the ephemeral nature of life and an indulgence in man’s unwillingness to give in to this understanding – his desire to arrest time, to counter anonymity, to leave something behind, to be immortal.

This project is particularly important to me as it marks an evolution in my practice. My interests have often resided in photographing the remains of things as they were when I found them and this is the first time that I was interested in intervening. Instead of documenting the possessions as my grandfather left them I decided to rearrange them, thus declaring my presence and creating proof of my own existence.

By inserting myself into the situation, I not only secure my grandfather’s legacy but also my own. I too want to leave something behind.
Published on: 
2013
Photography
  • INHERITANCE
  • Clothing, bottles, appliances – relatable objects that serve as the basic accessories of daily life, schematically arranged to form a visual inventory of one man’s possessions. The Inheritance project is an exploration into ideas of legacy, identity, and impermanence, of what we leave behind and how that defines us. At the same time, it is a deeply personal documentation of the artist’s mourning process following the passing of her grandfather.

    By rearranging the objects that filled his home into pictorial compositions to assert her own presence as an artist, Tese authors a chronicle of a life as expressed by simple objects, ranging from those unique to the individual subject, such as a collection of paperweights or newspaper clippings including those about Tese herself as a child, to pedestrian items such as shoes or pots and pans. 
     
    Despite the potential sentimentality of the project for the artist and her audience, Tese’s photographs are abstracted by her deadpan treatment of the subject matter, organizing the items into grids, piles and sometimes playful arrangements that allow the objects to be assessed individually as well as en masse by the audience. When viewed together, the images form a posthumous portrait of the deceased that allows the viewer to “know” Tese’s grandfather, just as her categorization and presentation of his belongings speak to the artist’s practice and style.
     
    These photographs function simultaneously as an acknowledgement to the ephemeral nature of life and as an indulgence in man’s unwillingness to give in to this understanding – his desire to arrest time, to counter anonymity, to leave something behind, to be immortal.
  • Luggage
     
  • Coats and Hangers
  • Shoes
  • Suspenders
     
  • Bedding
  • Hair and Teeth
  • Dentures
  • Everything Having to do with Eating
  • Heating
  • Gardening Equipment
  • Tools
  • Benches
  • Wood
  • Paper Weights
  • Books
  • Spiritual Literature and Objects
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing Gear
  • Five Bottles
     
  • Cigarettes
  • Army, Navy, Union
  • Money
  • Locks and Keys
  • Lighting
  • Stationary
  • Grandma's Lists
  • Magazines and Pamphlets
  • Newspapers
  • Postcards, Stamps, and Addresses
  • Pictures and Posters
  • Important Documents