Michal Iwanowski

Minus The Mother

Psychoanalysis uses the term 'anticipatory grief' referring to 'the feelings experienced by those waiting for someone to die. Knowing their loved one is dying, they start the mourning process before the actual death. (...)

But it could be argued that anticipatory grief is in fact a phenomenon that occurs when the one we are mourning is very far from death. (...)

The result of anticipatory grief is the painful realization that the object already contains the possibility of its non-existence. A nothingness is created. (Darian Leader)

(2006 - ongoing)

Talking was not easy for either of us. So instead - we started making photographs, in the woods surrounding my parents' house. Mama would ask what she should wear, and she would walk into the landscape.

We've done this for years.


In the meantime, mama's emails to me took a different tone - in a beautiful, poetic language, she shared with me fragments of her dreams, her scattered thoughts about the lost time, and the overwhelming fear of losing yet more of it. In those letters she told what a child does not necessarily want to hear from their parents.


Yet I asked the questions. Hoping it might leave me prepared for the future.


It is an unsettling and daring move to talk about a loved person as if they were no longer alive.


With this project, I am encouraging you to think about your losses, those that have happened, and more so, about those that are still to take place.


I am inviting you to meet my mother.