Artist's Statement

Andres de Varona

Archival Inkjet Prints - 13x19 inches and 22x33 inches

Contact is a reconnection to a spirit through the performance of rituals. I create these ceremonies myself and with family, as well as with the last article of clothing that was purchased by my mother before she died. Contact creates a space for loss as we navigate transitioning family roles and responsibilities. In Western society death is something that’s become nearly invisible and something that’s typically told to us rather than witnessed due to many medical advancements, technology, and societal norms.

By bridging life and death in these images I aim at continuing the conversation and exploration Victorian Spiritualists initiated throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. This was a particular time in Western culture when sicknesses were rampant and often untreatable. The visibility of death throughout this time pushed citizens for a new understanding of what it meant to die, and the camera was an instrument that helped rationalize and ground this mystery.

In this series, I build a spiritual connection to death by choosing to get close to it with members in my family.