December 2 – December 12, 2021
After, life is a group exhibition of interdisciplinary artworks and archival materials from the Marieluise Hessel Collection and CCS Bard Special Collections that explores the ways in which the living cope, continue, and commemorate those lost. Works in the exhibition touch on grieving processes, death’s impact on our intimate relationships, and efforts to uphold and relate to the legacies of the departed. Scale is a condition of After, life: varying from smaller works that encourage individual encounters to larger pieces that allow for group viewing. These moments act as a metaphor for the various isolating and communal experiences of grief.
Marieluise Hessel has noted that her relationship to art is rooted in her childhood experiences of living through World War II. In reflecting on her relationships to the departed and their impact on her art collection, Hessel has shared: “On a bad day I can go to a museum, I look at some great art … and I realize that I am not alone, that what I experience is just a part of life.” Through storytelling, representations of survival, and moments of respite, After, life offers a space to explore the ways in which the living encounter desolation and resist despair.