Andrea Tese's exhibition, Inheritance, is a personal and specific photographic project which serves to display the details of her late grandfather's life. The pieces of his life are placed together in categories; objects such as clothing, fishing gear, cigarettes boxes, tools, letters and billing papers are arranged in a compositionally effective manner so that each object retains individuality while also contributing to the whole.
The large, c-print photographs contain a vintage feel. A classic American tone. For Tese, this was part of her mourning process. An avenue to acknowledge and know a person even further. An aesthetically simple, yet complexly profound homage. The show brings to light how our possessions say so much about us as unique individuals. They are defining marks, relics.
One image is comprised of handwritten lists on lined paper; one of the lists that stands out, written in red ink, is a Christmas list with twenty or so children's names methodically scribbled on the left side of the paper, and X's and checks beside each name. Another image of a pile of a specific brand of unsmoked cigarettes. And another of an extensive supply of fishing gear presented with careful sensibility before a wall in a warm garage.
Although the project is deeply personal to the artist, because of the straightforward nature of each photograph the viewer is granted access to explore a personalized perspective. Anyone who has a grandfather from this era can picture what possessions he has accumulated over his lifetime, and begin understand how these objects have the power to represent a person's soul, history and existence.
Inheritance runs from January 9th until February 15th at DEBUCK Gallery, 525 W 23rd Street New York, NY 10011.
Text and photos by Carlos J. Fonts