A Grave for Mum

2021, ink on Awagami INBE 125gsm, 80 x 120 cm

As a manner of coping with her experience of personal loss, Irmina Rusicka made an attempt at designing a grave for her recently deceased mother. The state of mourning triggered the search for a suitable form of commemoration – as different as possible from the modern stonemasonry production. The project can be referred to as an anti-grave, because the artist’s idea was to reverse the typical scheme of what is normally understood as a grave: instead of an extensive overground structure, it is a simple, framed stone pool. A solid tombstone is substituted for shimmering water surface: home to little creatures and thirsty birds. What is more, the grave becomes a space which, by saying goodbye to one life, makes room for other lives.

However, unlike some historical expressions of sepulchral art where water plays the main role (for example, reflection pools, which are elements of sumptuous buildings, such as Taj Mahal, as well as eccentrical ones, such as Józef Bem Mausoleum), in Rusicka’s project there is no object that could be reflected in the water. In her work, free from pathos and studied drama, the pond reflects what lies beyond its frame: the nature, the contours of the nearby graves, and the fragment of the sky above it.