In living a life there are very few guarantees, but experiencing loss is one emotional hurdle we all will face at some given point.
How we handle it depends upon its nature, but the death of a loved one carries its own signature. It is a fundamental human experience that can bring solace for some and the loss of self for others. Rebecca Solnit once wrote, “to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like Arctic tundra or a sea of ice.” This is the starting point in understanding Hilla Kurki’s newest body of work “Fallen Feathers”, from the Phoenix series. It begins with her sister’s death at the early age of 28 and how Kurki incorporates this personal tragedy into her own story, using her grief as stepping-stones towards a New becoming. She transforms her sister’s forgotten black dresses into a bridge to link us through to her memories in hope of self-recovery.
Hilla Kurki has gradually learned that sorrow can be grown out of like a snake’s skin can be shed. She states, “One cannot empty out an emotion just by feeling it. One can overcome it and learn to own it, by meticulously re-telling it”. This follows a long history of female artists who renegotiate the past through self-reflection and re-evaluation of their own families’ relationships and how a profound experience can endlessly resonate. Like a stone cast into a pond we are left with just a ripple, reminding us of the impact.