A documentation of a part of human life that few are seldom witness to – death in the shape of traces left by people who have passed away alone. Possible Relatives is a project about rejection, loneliness and invisibility –about the poverty of social contact in our otherwise economically developed welfare system.
“ We who only see the empty rooms, know nothing about the people who have left them. But we can surmise that most of those who have departed from earthly life in these apartments without calling for help, have given up all hope to be liked and have abandoned all role play long ago.”
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION POSSIBLE RELATIVES, 2004: at Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark
Text from the webside of Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark:
Danish visual artist/photographer Tina Enghoff created an exhibition for Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, which focussed on loneliness. The exhibition took as its starting point the newspaper advertisements used by public authorities to seek Posible Relatives to people who have died a lonely and isolated death in their own homes / a few times at the near by hospital but without any contact to the outside world in shape of family or friends.
For years, Tina Enghoff has collected more than a hundred of these advertisements which are all included in the exhibition. They were all hung in a separate room in the middle of the exhibition space, isolated from the other parts of the exhibition. Apart from these advertisements, the exhibition was made up by large colour photographs from flats in which people have died, and which the artist quite exceptionally was given access to photograph. These photographs of empty flats created a vacuum which confronted the viewer with an existential loneliness, common to us all.
With her bare and intense photographs Tina Enghoff presented the untold and unknown stories of the lives of lonely people, and in so doing she made present to the viewer an aspect of reality which is otherwise absent.
The exhibition furthermore featured a video installation of the fronts of buildings in which people have died without anybody noticing. The visual fragments were supplemented by a sound track in which a person, whose job it is to deal with these dead people, told us about his work.
POSSIBLE RELATIVES was an exhibition project which questioned the conception of the well-functioning welfare state. The many advertisements and the huge photographs disturbingly challenged the viewer’s understanding of modern society.
The exhibition was curated by Elisabeth Delin Hansen, director of Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.
During January 2004, three debates in Danish took place in Nikolaj.
The debates focused on the ethical discussion inherent in this exhibition.
© Tina Enghoff. All rights reserved.